In this day and age, plastics make as an ideal form of material as it is malleable, easily produced & manufactured.
Thermoplastic injection molding is a method for manufacturing high-volume parts with plastic materials. Due to its reliability and flexibility in design options, injection molding is used in many industries, including: packaging, consumer & electronics, automotive, medical, and many more.
There are many different types of plastic injection molding processes. The traditional thermoplastic injection molding process can be modified to include processes that help to enhance part quality and part design flexibility.
Plastic injection molding comes with many advantages. Injection molding manufactures high quantities of parts, faster than other manufacturing methods such as via machining or 3D-printing. It is also known that this manufacturing process is of high accuracy and that the processes are mostly automated – therefore encouraging identical part creation, promoting low labour costs. The ease of customisation also includes the flexibility allowed in part design & creation via for example- molded-in inserts and material properties such as the colour, clarity, strength, & flexibility.
However, like everything else in life, each process comes with a set of it’s own defined challenges. Some examples of these challenges include material variations, weld lines, sink marks, warpage, long cycle times, and incomplete cavity filling. This can affect part quality, and it is often best to resolve and have it caught in early during the early design stages.
To do so, it is handy to run a design simulation to avoid these challenges in the manufacturing stage. Autodesk provides a moldflow simulation which can help in understanding risks early in the design process, allowing the ability to address these before becoming fully invested.
The simulation software gives engineers, mold makers, and other molding professionals accurate digital prototyping solutions, and help bring better products to market faster. Moldflow simulation can be paired with other simulation tools, including mechanical stress, vibration, motion, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and Multiphysics, providing a fast, accurate, and innovative approach to solving the most challenging design problems.
Moldflow simulation software allows for troubleshooting problems with plastic injection and compression molding. Advanced tools and a simplified user interface addresses in manufacturing challenges, increases capacity with less effort & reduces the project development time.
So, how does Moldflow injection molding simulation software help in your designing process?
i) Firstly , and most importantly so – it predicts surface finish defects. A designer can come up with many different shapes, but what if a shape is not ideal in terms of the flow of the material due to the difference in density or viscosity ? With Moldflow, analyse fill patterns and effects of geometry & process setting changes, such as sink marks.
ii) Fluidity of liquid can vary along with its pressure parts. Predict & prevent warpage – or even so, investigate the causes of warpage, then examine options to minimize or correct part deflection.
iii) In this age, most ideal designs are best made lighter in weight for energy usage, efficiency and conservation, plus the ease of transportability. With Moldflow, designs are optimized for lightweighting by analyzing and comparing advanced materials for lightweighting efforts, such as with automotive components.
iv) Generation of heat is inevitable in most manufacturing processes. Time is required to cool parts down which then affects the part cycle time. The aim of most manufacturing processes as well is to reduce part cycle time and this may be accomplished better by predicting part cooling efficiency. Experiment with advanced conformal cooling or induction heating with simulations to help make better decisions in investment of costly molds.
Moldflow also integrates well with a cloud based solver to minimize your solver hardware limitations. This is done via the Moldflow Insight where you would be able to run multiple simulations concurrently with remote server and cloud solving.
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