Composite Material Manufacturing Simulation Software (EN578-170003/20)

Tender Notice


Publishing status


Publication date
Amendment date
Date closing
2019/01/14 14:00 Eastern Standard Time (EST)


Reference number
Solicitation number
Region of opportunity
Region of delivery
Notice type
Request for Proposal (RFP)
Trade agreement
  • None
Tendering procedure
Solely Canadian content
Procurement entity
Public Works and Government Services Canada
End user entity
Public Works and Government Services Canada

Contact Information

Contact name
Secrétariat de Solutions Innovatrices Canada / Innovative Solutions Canada Secretariat
Contact email
Contact address
10 Wellington
Gatineau  QC
K1A 0S5

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January 8, 2019

Attachment 1 contains a question and answer related to the challenge.


This Challenge Notice is issued under the Innovative Solutions Canada Program Call for Proposals 002 (EN578-170003/C).

Please refer to the Solicitation Documents which contain the process for submitting a proposal.

Steps to apply:

Step 1: read this challenge

Step 2: read the Call for Proposals

Step 3: propose your solution

CHALLENGE TITLE: Composite Material Manufacturing Simulation Software

CHALLENGE SPONSOR: National Research Council (NCR)



Multiple contracts could result from this Challenge.

The maximum funding available for any Phase 1 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $150,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable, for up to 6 months.

The maximum funding available for any Phase 2 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $1,000,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable, for up to 2 years. Only eligible businesses that have completed Phase 1 could be considered for Phase 2.

This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to contract for the total approximate funding.

TRAVEL:  For Phase 1 it is anticipated that two meetings will require the successful bidder(s) to travel to the location identified below:

Kick-off meeting: Montreal, Quebec

Final Review Meeting: Montreal, Quebec

All other communication can take place by telephone.

Problem Summary Statement

This challenge is seeking an advanced simulation tool, capable of accurately predicting the ply by ply movement, deformation and defect generation/distribution in a composite laminate undergoing forming process at any stage in the process.

Problem Statement

NRC Aerospace is doing research and development of composite material airframe structural elements and their productionisation, allowing Canadian composite manufacturers to form composite materials with optimal quality. But the lack of a simulation tool is a problem for NRC because its composite forming technology is only part of the solution for Canadian manufacturers. Current composite material manufacturing techniques are very empirical, involving time consuming and costly trials and errors. In presenting the forming technology to a new client for a specific application, the ultimate goal for the manufacturer is to shorten the adaptation stage by predicting and, consequently, avoiding possible defects that are commonly generated in forming processes. Industry’s best practices are not reflected in any reliable and accurate simulation software.

The advanced simulation tool requested here will require the creation of mathematical models capable of simulating accurately the composite material forming process. With a reliable and accurate simulation capability in place, the Canadian composite manufacturers would be able to form composite materials with optimal quality, using their own or NRC’s forming technology and increasing their competitiveness. This would mitigate risk and time/cost associated with the empirical methods used today.

Desired outcomes and Considerations

Essential Outcomes

The solution to be provided in this Challenge by a small business must be a numerical simulation tool, featuring:

  • A material library with populated properties to model the part behaviour during forming; with the capability to add new materials to the library.
  • Capability to accurately model forming of flat thermosetting laminates into complex (double curvature) shapes, while taking into account transitional chemo-rheological changes in matrix and mechanical interaction of reinforcement.
  • Capability to integrate ply movement and displacement data from non-destructive evaluation as a means for simulation tool calibration and process feedback.
  • Capability of modelling resolution of common forming problems, such as:
    • Predicting ply wrinkling (at least one layer waviness) due to forming of critical regions such as corners, folds, and joggles (which are steps formed by two adjacent reverse bends)
    • Predicting laminate thickness changes (min to 5%) due to forming process of a part
    • Predicting ply movement irregularities in laminates with stacks of multiple plies (1-50 layers) with similar orientation
    • Capability to optimize the forming process based on selected forming process parameters (such as material properties, temperature, pressure, and forming rate)
  • The software must be capable of predicting spring back and warpage of composite laminates based on a cure cycle, tool, material and geometry conditions after a cure.

Additional Outcomes

The proposed solutions should :

  • Offer a graphical user interface allowing for the generic forming modelling process and its adaptation to a client specific manufacturing process, such as NRC’s forming technology.
  • Be capable of optimizing a specific application and inform ideal process parameters to reduce costs while ensuring a high quality part.

Background and Context

The current industrial approach to tailoring a forming strategy is to conduct case-specific experimentation. In the current state of the art, manufacturers are confronted with the difficulty to produce rapid, repeatable and high-quality components; one of the most attractive approaches is by using advanced forming techniques. Here, a flat charge of material is first layered using automation. The flat charges are then formed into complex shapes, and the preferential deformation is promoted by targeted and controlled heat and force application. The material undergoes a phase of highly transient, rapid, and irreversible state, which has to be predicted and controlled with high fidelity. During this stage, it is critical to attain optimal ply orientation, while avoiding defects associated with mechanical manipulation of viscoelastic material. The chemo-rheological transformation of resin state affects reinforcing fibres, plies and laminate on micro and macro scales. One of the pertinent process-development challenges is that the underlying complex and competing ply movement mechanisms, which are governed by global deformation, are hidden. Currently, their relationships are implied from the end conditions. As a result, the accuracy of the existing chemo-rheological and physics-based simulation tools is difficult to ascertain.

Today, computer simulation is an essential part of any advanced manufacturing technology in order to improve designs and reduce development times and costs. However, most applications so far have focused on a general approach to composite fabrication as a single module of global simulation software. The literature lacks a targeted simulation tool specific to composite manufacturing. The industry needs commercial and viable simulation software which it can depend on for simulating different composite processes, particularly composite forming technology. These sorts of tools within commercial simulation software should be maintained, updated and advanced regularly. To our knowledge, no current commercial software is capable of addressing the forming process as explained in this challenge.


All enquiries must be submitted in writing to no later than ten calendar days before the Challenge Notice closing date. Enquiries received after that time may not be answered.

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FileAmendment numberLanguageUnique Download Event (English page)Date added
attachment_1_-_question_and_answer_1-_en578-170003_20.pdfNot availableEnglish- 2019-01-08
piece_jointe_1-_question_et_reponse_1_-_en578-170003_20.pdfNot availableFrench- 2019-01-08