Key features

Engineers perform easy and accurate composite forming analyses thanks to AniForm Suite’s key features. Part optimizations can be explored by studying processes having rigid, segmented, or flexible tooling, such as membranes. The formability of various uni-directionally or fabric reinforced laminate configurations can be investigated using PrePost’s flexible functionality that enables quick modifications, such as the blank shape and the consideration of cuts and darts. Also, any laminate handling system, like those operated with tensioners and various types of grippers, can be modelled within a few clicks. Please, read more about these and other great features below.

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Composite forming simulation

User-friendly model setup

Save modelling time by making a simulation model in the intuitive fast-responding graphical user-interface AniForm PrePost. Import any triangular meshes representing tooling and laminate. Assign material behaviour, configure process and handling system, and send the model to the solver within a few clicks.
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Rigid tooling

Simulate laminate forming by using rigid tooling. Convert imported meshes to a tool surface. Prescribe all tooling independently in a displacement and force controlled manner.

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Membrane forming

Simulate hot drape, rubber pad, single, and double diaphragm forming by using pressure controlled membranes.
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Segmented sequential tooling

Simulate laminate forming by using segmented tooling. Trajectories of any number of tool surfaces can be prescribed independently through the timeline.
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Temperature and crystallinity prediction

Simulate the temperature development of composite laminates during the forming process. One can model the composite ply's orthotropic thermal conductivity, and interface properties like conductance, convection, and radiation properties. Also, in case of thermoplastic composites, crystallinity development can be studied. The thermal modelling capability enables the engineer to assess the process design quality with respect to the thermal aspects.
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Laminate configurations

Laminate having any shape

Import any laminate shape using triangular Patran, Neutral, and STL mesh formats. Generate coarse or fine laminate meshes instantaneously, the selection driven by your accuracy needs.

Automatic laminate mesh preconditioner

PrePost automatically configures the laminate’s element mesh to get accurate and realistic results. No complex mesh editing is required anymore.


Make cuts in the laminate within two clicks to influence its formability. Cleverly applying cuts can avoid forming issues. Cuts can also be applied to only one or a few plies in the entire stack.
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Tailored layups

Model tailored layups by importing a mesh having mesh sections as supported by Patran and Neutral mesh files. Equip each section with a different layup and material data to create your tailored blank.
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Improve laminate formability by avoiding excess material using pie-shaped darts. Darts are easily processed within three clicks. Darts can also be applied locally per ply, rather than being processed through the entire stack.
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Handling configurations


Apply pre-loaded linear springs to the laminate at any location. The springs can for example be spanned between a frame and a laminate. Any tensioning configuration can be simulated to study its effect on formability.
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Foil carriers

Include flexible carrier foils in the forming analysis. Foils can be secured by grippers. The grippers can be used to displace or apply a load to the foil.


Model the laminate handling system by using grippers that can be applied within a few clicks. Grippers can be represented by a point or line segment in the laminate. These can either be applied to a few selected plies or to the complete stack. The gripper surfaces themselves can also be modelled. Gripper and clamping actions can be prescribed through the timeline in a displacement and force controlled manner.
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Blank holders

Control in-plane laminate tensions and sliding by applying blank holders or binders. These are represented by imported surfaces that come in contact with the laminate. These surfaces can be equipped with a force to exert a local pressure on the laminate. The blank holder or binder surfaces can also be attached to linear springs in order to ramp-up the pressures during the process.
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Gravity induced laminate sag

Consider gravity induced laminate sag by enabling the gravity load in the simulation model within two clicks. The sag is determined by the configuration of the laminate handling system and can under certain circumstances significantly affect the formability.
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Pin support

This feature permits laminates to rest on the support or be lifted from it, with the pin providing guidance until the laminate is released.

Material behaviour at forming conditions

Standard material cards

We already characterised materials for you! Calibrated models can be imported in PrePost, and you’ll only need to define the layup.
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Co-inventor of characterisation methods

AniForm has a lot of experience in characterisation of composite materials having a continuous fibre reinforcement, at forming conditions. Intra-ply, bending, and inter-ply slip is characterised by tailored characterisation methods, which have been co-invented by AniForm.

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Various composite material types

Simulate forming behaviour of laminate plies consisting of uni-directionally reinforced tapes, fabrics, organosheets, and NCF’s, having a thermoplastic, thermoset, or no matrix constituent. This is possible since AniForm allows material models to have any reinforcement direction.

Material models

Various material models can be used to represent the material’s response, as obtained from characterisation test programmes. Intra-ply and bending deformations can be described by any combination of iso- and orthotropic elastic, two parameter Mooney-Rivlin, Newtonian and shear rate dependent viscous (Cross) material models. Friction can be described by any combination of Newtonian, shear rate dependent, pressure dependent, and Coulomb type of models.
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Data exchange

Meshes import

Import meshes to define the tooling and laminate surfaces. STL, Patran, and Neutral file formats are supported by PrePost, which can be generated by most CAD and meshing programmes.

Interface to Ansys Composite PrepPost

Bring the details of your forming process from AniForm into Ansys through the HDF5 Composite CAE interface. The HDF5 interface is a vendor independent exchange format. This interface provides a user-friendly and fast workflow for design engineers who can transfer their composite layup data to ACP to complete and speed up the entire computer-aided engineering chain.
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Text file result output

Export any forming result of any selected step to a text file, enabling you to use this data in your own routines to perform an updated subsequent analysis, such as structural performance or crash simulation.

Interface to e-Xstream’s Digimat

Update your structural or crash analysis model using Digimat, which supports AniForm export files containing the deformed mesh, fibre directions, and thicknesses.
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Fibre placement interface

Import fibre placement files containing robot trajectory data. PrePost automatically generates element meshes to represent the placed and steered tailored blanks.
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Interface to Moldex3D for flow Analysis

This interface transfers the predicted forming induced fibre reorientation to the flow simulation model in Moldex3D, which leads to a more accurate representation of the flow domain. The transfer utilises the LS-DYNA MAT249 material file format. The flow simulation model in Moldex3D can be used to perform Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) or Injection-Overmoulding predictions. Read more

Interface to Abaqus CAE

Update your Abaqus CAE model with material property changes predicted by AniForm using our Import and Export plug-ins. Using this interface, one can for example perform a more accurate structural analysis by taking into account the new fibre orientations after forming.
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Solving robustly

Special shell element

Special AniForm shell elements are used to describe the intra-ply and bending behaviour of the composite ply accurately. Contact elements are use to describe the inter-ply and tool-ply friction. By default, each ply in the laminate is described by an element mesh. Layups having many plies can be represented by fewer plies using smart ply reduction techniques in order to reduce simulation times.

Simulation job scheduling

Our software comes with AniForm Scheduler, which is a platform-independent simulation job scheduling system. Users of PrePost can submit simulations to the Scheduler, which optimises resource allocation based on hardware capabilities and job queues. The available resources in the Scheduler can be multiple registered Simulation Servers hosting the solver Core elsewhere on the network. Compatible with both Windows and Linux, the Scheduler boasts an intuitive web-based user interface and role-based user management for enhanced security and efficiency.

Implicit solver

AniForm Core solves the finite element models created by AniForm PrePost. Core is our own-developed implicit solver with automatic time step sizing and solves contact problems for multi-ply stacks robustly, enabling you to simulate the forming process with high accuracy. Unlike explicit solvers, Core guarantees to have equilibrium solutions at converged increments. The solver distributes the tasks over multiple CPU threads in a shared memory configuration. Core runs on Windows and Linux, see here for more detail.

Realistic predictions

User-friendly analysis

Fast 3D graphics enable you to instantly scroll through the simulated process steps, allowing you to better concentrate on the results themselves.

Defect indications

Predictions indicate defects like wrinkling at various scales, stress concentrations caused by bridging, regions susceptible to have poor consolidation quality, ply splitting, and surface rupture. Guides available to match predictions to reality.

Relevant result items

Relevant result output for composite forming, such as fibre shear angles, axial, transverse, and shear strains, thickness, fibre orientations, stresses, and tractions.

Accurate predictions

Simulations correlate well with real parts, in terms of formability and defect predictions. Various academic publications can be found where AniForm software has been applied and assessed.

Licence and training

AniForm Suite licence

One AniForm Suite licence consists of one AniForm PrePost and one AniForm Core licence. AniForm PrePost the graphical user interface. AniForm Core is the implicit solver. Multiple licences of AniForm PrePost and Core can be acquired. For example, two PrePosts that are installed on two notebooks, and one solver being installed at one powerful machine elsewhere on your network.

Node-locked and transferrable

A licence is node-locked to a machine. The licence can be transferred to another machine within your organisation when both machines have an internet connection.

Excellent training and support

Our well-received training is offered online, in the Netherlands, or at your site. The training addresses all the things you should know before making your own simulation models. Contact us for more information.
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