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Self-Piercing Riveting Feasibility Prediction using Finite Element Analysis

The objective of this research, conducted by WMG and Jaguar Land Rover, was to simulate the self-piercing riveting process and predict the feasibility of its use on a range of substrates.

Self-Piercing Riveting (SPR) is the core joining process used by Jaguar Land Rover to assemble lightweight body-in-white vehicle structures. This is essentially a cold forming operation that allows the joining of two or more sheets of materials through a mechanical interlock.

This particular research focused on the feasibility prediction of the SPR process.

Even if the process is quite simple, the quality of an SPR joint is a function of several parameters such as rivet design, die geometry and setting velocity. Currently the validation of the possible rivet / die combinations within a cell of the body-in-white assembly facility is assessed by extensive experimental tests that consume time and materials.

The objective of this research project was to develop a finite element model which could simulate the SPR process and so to reproduce the cross-sectional geometry of the joint. Then, the quality of the joint was assessed by measuring geometric parameters.

The result of the research has been a faster vehicle design process as more rivetability assessment could be provided without such extensive physical tests.