The Collaborative Research Centre 666 has the focus on researching fundamental new methods for the development of optimized products and production processes for integral bifurcated sheet metal parts. Technological innovations have been achieved with respect to new production processes such as linear flow splitting and linear bend splitting as well as to produce products with flexible profiles.
The use of state of art product development methodologies can be applied but these are not optimized to deal with the high complexity of the requirements and properties of integral bifurcated sheet metal products. In order to deal with that complexity a new approach of a product development methodology, the algorithm based product development process, has been established. Within the scope of the algorithm based product development methodology a topology optimization, based on mathematical algorithms using product requirements information, is already applied in the conceptual steps of product development process. By using this methodological approach an optimized concept of bifurcated sheet metal can be determined. The results are stored as optimized geometric data in XML-format files. 3D-CAD-Models are generated based on these data.
However the import of these data into 3D-CAD-Systems are not fully automated. The developed data model, from earlier works for linear flow splitting and linear bend splitting, does not take into account the variability of the profiles in the third-dimension. In addition the topology optimization does not provide production-orientated design requirements and therefore it does not take into account the production process limits (of linear flow splitting and linear bend splitting). Hence 3D-CAD-Models resulting from the optimized geometric data need to be adapted manually.
Therefore new advanced approaches in terms of virtual product development tools need to be explored. This paper describes the development of an interface within the CAD-System Siemens NX which supports the automatic import of XML-files containing the optimized geometric data of non-linear integral bifurcated sheet metal in 3D-CAD-Models. The existing data model is extended considering the requirements of the developed interface in order to represent nonlinear bifurcated profiles. An approach of the interface using the described data model and the NX Open API is introduced and explained.