The Finite Element Analysis of Axle Nut Crimping 2017-01-1323
In the assembly of axles and wheel hubs, a nut is frequently used to fasten them as one unit. In order for the nut to hold the assembly in its final position, crimping is a widely-used method which prevents nut from loosening. A reliable crimping process not only prevents movement of the nut during axle operation but should also minimize the possibility of cracking the rim. If the nut cracks during assembly, it can start to rust and deteriorate. The service life span of the axle assembly hence shortens as a result. The quality of crimping operation is determined by the component designs, the process parameters, and the crimping tool geometry. It would be time-consuming and costly to evaluate these factors empirically; let alone the requirement of prototypes in the early stage of a new program. A dynamic finite element methodology which adopts the Arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian formulation from ABAQUS explicit solver is developed to simulate the complete crimping process. Various process parameters and design specifications for possible geometry combinations in the process are formulated by DOE. Recommendations from the analysis would serve as a foundation and guideline for the development of a reliable axle nut crimping process in automotive industry. A strong correlation between predicted and measured crimping force is also found in this study.