Hot pressing process is widely used in automotive, shipbuilding, energy production and civil engineering. However, the trial and error technique that is intensive time and energy consuming is still used. Particularly, the design of Francis turbines of hydropower plants is not standard, but variable from site to site due to hydraulic conditions and cost of energy. As a result, the blade hydraulic profile of each Francis turbine is different. The blades, one of the key components of Francis turbine runners, are produced in small batches and the setup of the dedicated punch and die increases significantly the unit production costs. In this paper, the blade unfolding process for optimal blank design will be firstly presented, and then a hot pressing process for very thick plates is proposed. The pressing process of high strength steel at hot temperature is characterized by thermo-mechanical behaviors, three-dimensional unsteady deformation, high nonlinearity, continuous local forming. The analyses of residual stress distribution and applied forces are carried out.

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