High strength steel is widely used in the manufacturing of parts dealing with heavy cyclic loads and corrosive environments. However, processing this type of steel is not easy, and it becomes a hard-to-solve problem when the part to produce is large, thick and quasi-unique. One example of a thick high strength steel axisymmetric part is the conical shape of the crown of a Francis turbine runner. Some Francis turbine runners installed in the dam basement of a hydraulic power plant are 10 meters in diameter with more than 5 meters in height, while plate thickness can exceed 100 millimeters. Several processes can be envisaged for the manufacturing processes of such large parts (welding or casting…), but few processes can deliver one within a reasonable time and at competitive cost. Among them the roll bending process, causing plastic deformation of a plate around a linear axis with little or no change in plate thickness, is considered as an interesting alternative.

The main objective of this research is to assess 3D dynamic finite element and analytical models for the computation of the bending forces during the manufacturing of hollow conical parts made of a thick plate and a high strength steel. Numerous parameters such as thickness, curvature, part size, material properties and friction directly influence the reaction forces on the rolls. Therefore, the results of this research provide a better understanding of the phenomena taking place in the process, and an opportunity to establish relationships between the bending forces and the parameters of a final conical part.

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