NEW Portable Strain-measuring System.

STEELMAKER Corus has devised a portable strain-measuring
system to help carmakers ensure the quality of complex formed
body panels during vehicle development and production.

PHASTä involves photographing a pressed panel from different positions
using a digital camera and then processing the data. The software links
all the photographic measurements automatically, calculating the strains
in the pressed part to an accuracy of ± 0.5 per cent. The results are
typically available within 1-3 hours.

PHASTä has been jointly developed by the Corus research facility in
IJmuiden and Dutch company Geodelta, a global leader in photogrammetry.
With growing use of high-tech steels in automotive press shops, it is
increasingly useful for carmakers to better understand how a material will
deform and flow during pressing. This is particularly important for
complicated and large bodyside components.

The PHASTä system has been used by Corus to provide on-site body
shop support to Ford's manufacturing plant in Genk, Belgium, helping
the carmaker to save time, cut costs and ensure quality.

Corus says that compared with traditional methods of measuring strain,
the compact PHASTä system is portable and can be used on-site. This
has allowed Corus material engineers to monitor and visualise material
feasibility and strains at Ford Genk.

Corus' research and development customer support engineer, Hans
Brouwer, said: "We now have the ability to discuss how to improve
material performance with the Ford engineers whilst on site, thus
streamlining the process."

In addition, traditional strain measurement analysis only allows small
areas of the pressed component to be measured and evaluated at a
time, making the whole process very timeconsuming. PHASTä is
capable of measuring complete surfaces all at once and, when the
data has been collected, software can visualise results in many different
ways to quickly determine how and where improvements can be made.

"The major benefit that PHASTä can ultimately bring is for it to be used
by carmakers during pre-production to optimise tooling set-up for new
model launches," said Brouwer.

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February 2006
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