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Virtual Paintshop
 
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Advanced Thermal Design System

Painting of complex structures, like car bodies, requires many steps in manufacturing for pre-treatment, cleaning, phosphating, electrocoating, pneumatic of electrostatic coat application, thermal drying or ultraviolet curing, cavity protection and others.

To ensure high quality of paint and efficient processes, reduce paint errors and consumption of resources, improve corrosion protection, avoid unnecessary design iterations by means of frontloading, computer based simulation can be used to assess and optimize individual steps in manufacturing or in the design of the product to be coated. VirtualPaintShop®, developed by CADFEM since 1997 supplies such analysis capabilities.

The primary goals for the development of VirtualPaintShop® are ease-of-use, speed of analysis, integration in existing development processes and supply of the full set of tools for painting relevant simulation.

VirtualPaintShop Modules

VPS EDC - Simulation of electro-deposition coating

  • We see a tendency towards car bodies with small and more complex cavities (i.e. for stiffness reasons). The thickness of the electro coat, in particular, is an important issue for lacquer quality and corrosion protection, and can be simulated using VPS/EDC. CAD-FEM, the developers of VPS, has worked on car bodies where it is impossible to estimate the thickness in the cavities without a simulation tool.
  • The cycle time of the process can also be reduced using VPS/EDC.
  • Shape and location of anodes can be optimised using VPS/EDC to improve the process.

VPS DRY - Simulation of thermal heat up and cool down of structures

  • The base coat (electro-coat) is the prime corrosion protection for a car body. Full curing without thermal destruction of the coat is needed to protect the body-in-white against early corrosion. The temperature history at every point of the structure needs to be controlled. This is not always easy but can be simulated by VPS/DRY to assess possible changes in design and/or process.
  • Top coat or clear coat is a very difficult material since the viscosity is another metric for good paint quality. If the viscosity is too high, orange skin might occur. If the viscosity is too low, runners might occur. Also the setting degree of those coats controls the strength of the material. Viscosity and setting degree can be simulated using VPS/DRY.
  • Modern multi-material car bodies (steel, aluminium, magnesium, polymers, etc) develop large thermal stresses (i.e. in the EDC-oven). To judge the pre-stress levels in the oven is a very important criterion. A thermal-mechanical interaction version of VPS will be made available next year.

VPS DIP - Analyzes the dipping and emerging of the body

  • Bubble inclusions may occur when body is immersed in liquids for cleaning, etc. These prevent complete wetting of surfaces. Leading to unclean surfaces or no electro-coating. Having multiple open cavities makes the estimation of possible air bubbles difficult without a simulation tool.
  • Any fluid remaining in the car body after removing from a basin contaminates the following basin or must be removed by a manual process (very costly).
  • VPS/DIP can simulate these phenomena in the virtual stage.
  • Modern conveying systems for electro-coating or other basin processes support more flexible and controllable movements of the car body. This, however, needs reasonable guidelines for the conveying process. Using VPS/DIP one can develop these.

VPS CATIA Toolkit - Preparation of Simulation Models for VPS/EDC

Methodology and a kit of routines to speed up modeling of finite-element-meshes for cavities using CATIA v4 (i.e for VPS/EDC or VPS/DIP, but also for finite-element-meshes to be used in computational fluid dynamics or acoustics). CATIA-Toolkit has been specifically developed for the requirements of VPS/EDC and VPS/DIP. Using CATIA-Toolkit consequently will significantly speed up time and effort needed for Modeling and Meshing.

 
             
  click to view the Virtual PaintShop brochure          
 
Virtual PaintShop
Brochure
         
   
Heart and arterial flow field during heart muscle contraction Bisected view of rocket engine test stand
The graphic environment of VPS/DIP is able to handle very large
and complex meshes very effective and comfortable
Contour plot of film thickness on the full body in white.
Turbulent flow structures around landing gear Thermal stress analysis of a computer graphics card.
Temperature results example of an Audi R8 Resulting volume mesh within cavities connected through holes
   
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