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July 13, 1999

5 Min Read
The next generation of moldfilling analysis is here

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To expand usability, Moldflow Plastics Insight can generate several types of finite-element meshes, including midplane, Fusion, and 3-D tetrahedrals. Shown clockwise from top left are a hub cap midplane model, a manifold meshed via Fusion, a connector depicted as a 3-D tetrahedral model, and a Sippicover Fusion model.

Continuous improvement is no longer just a buzzword in the molding industry. It has become a way of life. Nowhere is that change more apparent than among software vendors, exemplified by two new major releases for moldfilling simulation and analysis. Both Moldflow and C-Mold recently introduced software built from the ground up to help take designers and analysts into the next century. Many of the features and functions were created in direct response to user needs and requests. Let's take a closer look.


Gaining Insight
For in-depth analysis users, Moldflow Plastics Insight (MPI) aims at improving ease-of-use, analyzing all types of models, and creating better warpage and cooling simulation, especially for thick parts. MPI will replace Dynamic Series as an integrated suite of software for optimizing part design, mold design, and machine processing conditions.

With more than 200 user-requested enhancements, this represents the largest product launch in Moldflow's history. "Our goal is to make analysis fast, practical, and accurate," says Dean Piepiora, MPI product line manager. To these ends, MPI features a Windows-based, drag and drop environment; new wizards for fast model importing, analysis, and reporting; and the broadest integration of design geometry available. "That means that MPI works with all types of models, including wire frames, midplanes, thin-walled solids, and thick-walled parts with no midplane representations," he explains. Users will also be able to produce customizable, internet-ready reports with added notes, graphs, and animations for better communication of analysis results.

Warpage simulation has also been beefed up in MPI with two new features. The first, called Corrected Residual Mold Stress, lets users analyze warpage for all materials, even those without measured shrinkage data. The second is called automatic model constraining. "Traditionally, simple geometries are easy to constrain," Piepiora says. "For a flat plate that sits on a table, when you run a warpage analysis you have to constrain it so the software can calculate warpage relative to those constraints. Normally, you pick three corners. But it's tough to pick constraints for complex geometry, so MPI does it automatically." Why such attention to this detail? Accurate warpage results are based on whether constraints are accurate or valid.

In addition, the new release includes MPI/Cool3D for cooling simulation on thick parts; automated analysis for single and multicavity molds complete with runners, sprues, and gates; and a new graphical materials manager that visually compares viscosity and PVT data. Base pricing for MPI is exactly the same as Dynamic Series, and users currently on maintenance will receive MPI as a free upgrade.

Advances in Speed
Created with an eye toward helping designers meet compressed project schedules, C-Mold 2000 is being released in a two-phase launch. The first phase, which began shipping in June, includes an enhanced version of Mesh Express (v99.7) along with a supporting product called STL Expert. Used together, these modules bring model prep time down to 2 to 4 hours, compared to the typical two to three days required now.

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C-Mold 2000 expedites the process of transforming solid, surface, and wireframe models for moldfilling simulation with two new modules-Mesh Express and STL Expert. With these tools, the transformation will typically require 2 to 4 hours on an engineering workstation PC.

"C-Mold 2000 will allow users to import a solid, surface, or wireframe model, prepare it for simulation in under 4 hours, then run an advanced simulation in less than 10 hours," explains Peter Medina, coo of C-Mold. "For rigorous analysis, our goal is a 24-hour turnaround time."

Because STL files are still the lowest common denominator between a CAD system and CAE package, most users choose this format for moldfilling analysis. But there are as many different ways to generate the STL file as there are CAD systems, according to Medina, so STL Expert was developed to view, measure, refine, and correct solid surface models in STL format. It verifies STL quality by checking for missed or flipped elements, and uses a "wizard" to ensure the file is optimized. The module also converts IGES to STL formats. By fixing the STL file upfront, then using Mesh Express, C-Mold 2000 reduces model prep time.

Mesh Express takes the STL file and translates it to a midplane finite-element model automatically. It also contains a mesh-smoothing feature to produce a midplane mesh that more accurately replicates the aesthetic part qualities generated in the CAD file. Thanks to more elegant translation methods for lower CPU times and memory requirements, this process should take no longer than 4 hours, according to Medina.

The ability to use this simulation technology across several molding processes is another promising feature of the native Windows software. C-Mold 2000 will allow users to take the same CAD model and simulate all of the following IM processes: conventional injection, gas-assist, injection/compression, and coinjection, plus six other processes that are not IM-related.

Pricing for C-Mold 2000 was not available at press time. However, the STL Expert module is available for $2900.

Contact Information
Moldflow Corp.
Lexington, MA
Ken Welch
Phone: (781) 674-0085
Fax: (781) 674-0267
Web: www.moldflow.com

C-Mold
Louisville, KY
Jim Spann
Phone: (502) 423-4350
Fax: (502) 423-4369
Web: www.cmold.com

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