Ford Leverages Virtual Prototyping to Propel Lightweighting Capabilities to the Next Level


 Welding & Assembly

 Ground Transportation


As FORD continues to utilize high strength and ultra-high strength steel materials, which is imperative in today’s automotive landscape, we are working towards resolving our challenges related to the behavior of high-strength steel material benchmarking ESI’s solution for weld rupture simulation.

Niels Pasligh, PhD

Research Engineer / Ford Motor Company

How to balance new, lightweight materials and vehicle safety

There are a handful of game-changing qualities every automotive OEM seeks out in a vehicle: lightweight, safety, lower emissions, superior performance, and affordable costs. Being able to meet these critical criteria can be the difference between failure and success. But, as the saying goes, it’s often easier said than done.

As new government regulations related to emissions policies emerge, auto manufacturers are forced to shift away from their legacy knowledge and start thinking creatively. The most popular shift has been towards lightweight materials, which, naturally, come with their own unique set of challenges. For example, if an OEM was historically using traditional steel for their bumper but is now using ultra-high-strength steel, they must assimilate new methods allowing them to work within the parameters of that new lightweight material and adapt their processes to its behavior.

But the job doesn’t end there. How will the vehicle perform once it is on the road? How safe are these new materials once they are manipulated, joined, and welded?

Ultimately, the one who identifies the sweet spot, balancing all crucial factors, pulls ahead of the competition.

ESI offers a streamlined process

In order to enhance the prediction of weld failures, high-strength steel materials require several process steps. ESI Group is developing a streamlined approach, standardizing the manufacturing effects of spot welding and enabling rupture prediction. For new lightweight materials, processes of the past are no longer relevant and adjusted accordingly.

ESI’s spot-weld rupture solution propels lightweighting capabilities

A unique solution opens the door for accuracy

With this Spot Weld Rupture Solution, it is realizable to accurately simulate the resistance spot welding process and seamlessly transfer the manufacturing effects to performance models. In doing so, spot weld rupture properties can be characterized, in one single environment, instead of using different software for each. During spot welding of high-strength steel, such as boron steel, the nugget is fully martensitic. The heat-affected zone undergoes softening due to the transformation of existing martensite to tempered martensite. ESI’s Spot Weld Rupture solution captures the phase information after welding and changes to mechanical properties around the weld, seamlessly, to predict the rupture force-deflection curves for lap shear, cross tension coupons.

The benchmark created jointly by ESI and Ford highlighted that the Weld Rupture simulation process seamlessly chains the manufacturing to the weld rupture performance. We’re collaborating with ESI – improving predictability and process efficiency – to arrive at user-friendly virtual assessment

Niels Pasligh, PhD

Research Engineer / Ford Motor Company

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan, that is committed to helping build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams. The company’s Ford+ plan for growth and value creation combines existing strengths, new capabilities and always-on relationships with customers to enrich experiences for and deepen the loyalty of those customers. Ford designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of connected, increasingly electrified passenger and commercial vehicles: Ford trucks, utility vehicles, vans and cars, and Lincoln luxury vehicles. The company is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, connected vehicle services and mobility solutions, including self-driving technology, and provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. Ford employs about 182,000 people worldwide. More information about the company, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company is available at

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