INJECTION MOLDING: New Features for Mold Simulation

Process Wizard mimics injection machine controllers

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The upcoming release (R14) of Moldex3D simulation software includes a new tool for speeding up the tricky task of balancing hot runners in a multi-cavity tool. The new Hot Runner Steady (HRS) Analysis performs a quick calculation based on the runner layout, without including the cavities, and predicts the flow rate at each gate. The purpose is to identify potential balance problems for further refinement, but the HRS analysis is said to provide accurate results very close to those determined by a more time-consuming and detailed Advanced Hot Runner filling analysis. For example, HRS Analysis analyzed a 16-drop hot-runner system in 4 min, vs. up to 1 hr with Advanced Hot Runner filling analysis, and the pressure-drop predictions (around 17 MPa, or 2465 psi) by the two programs were within 1 MPA/145 psi) of each other. Thus HRS analysis can be up to 15 times faster.

Sold in this country by Moldex3D Northern America Inc., Farmington Hills, Mich., the software introduced a number of new features in the current release R13 (see Sept. ’14 Keeping Up). Additional information has become available on two of them.

The newest Cooling Channel Designer (CCD) is intended particularly to facilitate conformal cooling design. It helps users build cooling channels that follow the contour of a product in a fast, intuitive manner. Changes can be made easily—for example, moving channels closer to the cavity. A reportedly unique “slicing” function lets users slice up the part design into sections, and each cross-section can be used to build a better conformal cooling system.

Another special feature is the Process Wizard, which allows users to set up the simulated process using a facsimile of the actual injection-machine operator interface photo). The simulated setup screens can be displayed on a real injection machine monitor to aid process technicians in copying the intended setup. During operation, any differences between the actual machine setup and the setup for the simulation can be compared with a push of a button. Currently, Moldex3D supports 11 different injection machine controllers, and more are planned.

Since different size machines have different dynamic response to control settings, users can manually input data on the machine’s flow-rate and pressure response to fine-tune the simulation analysis.