September 27, 2023


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Institute of Technology for Metals and Engineering Co., Ltd.


TIME research project “SindE”; Inductive heat saves energy, is cleaner and easier to automate

TIME, the Technological Institute of Metals and Engineering, has extended simulations of modern welding technology in an existing EU and state funded project to include inductive heating. As a result of electromagnetic simulations and validation tests, the expert team has developed an equivalent heat source of knowledge, among other things, with which simulations can be performed more quickly in the future.

Modern steel materials often have to be pre-heated before welding to ensure their weldability. On the other hand, many welded components must be heat treated and straightened after welding. Induction heating of welded components is a suitable alternative compared to conventional oxygen fuel technology. Because the advantages of the process lie in the rapid and localized heating of the workpiece as well as in the work processes are flame-free, low-risk, clean and energy-saving.

TIME uses paired electromagnetic and thermal simulations to better evaluate the effect of inductive heat and to increase understanding of the process. The interactions of electric and magnetic fields are crucial to the formation of the resulting energy density and temperatures in the workpiece. With the help of equivalent heat sources combined with validation tests and material simulations, TIME experts were able to significantly speed up the computation work compared to duplex simulation.

Thanks to this simulation, welding technology companies can reduce cost-intensive test setups, use fewer materials, and achieve their goals faster. In general, efforts can be planned and designed more transparently.

Save resources by digitizing production

As part of the SindE (induction heating simulation) project, both heating tests were carried out with an induction heater provided by Technolit and a large number of simulations. These simulations included both material simulations using “JMatPro General Steels” program for temperature-dependent material characterization and thermo-coupled electromagnetic simulations for approximate calculation of energy densities, temperature fields and heat fluxes. Simulated investigations were supported by time-dependent measurement of electrical process variables and temperatures in heating tests.

Evaluation of electromagnetic calculations showed characteristic trend-dependent shapes of the power density in the workpiece. Assuming that the energy density decreases with increasing temperature in the component, TIME modeled the heat input as a function of the electromagnetic and temperature variables. By using equivalent heat sources, it is possible to significantly reduce the computation effort to account for influencing variables, such as the geometry of the inductor or the material of the magnetic field amplifier.

Equivalent heat source calibration

As a result of inductive and eddy current losses, high heating rates occur at the surrounding workpiece surfaces. Therefore, when simulating inductive heating, the effect of electric and magnetic fields when changing the temperature should not be neglected. With the help of equivalent heat sources, which take into account the properties of electromagnetic materials, the heating process can be planned in the development section using FEM-based simulations and the resulting temperatures can be predicted with good accuracy.

“Using simulation techniques, we can demonstrate the physical relationships of induction heating and simulate practice,” explains TIME Project Manager Tobias Girresser. “It’s a building block for better automation of welding processes and reduced carbon dioxide emissions.” One of the reasons why the project was funded by the ERDF.

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