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Expert setup and process control to run faster, cheaper, better

October 20, 1998

4 Min Read
Expert setup and process control to run faster, cheaper, better

Moldflow has leveraged its years of experience in CAD and CAE into the creation of a CAM product for injection molding machines called Moldflow Plastics Xpert (MPX). Sold as a hardware/software press retrofit package with prices starting in the $22,000 to $24,000 range, MPX has a suite of three powerful integrated modules that automatically setup molds, optimize running the molds, and keep the molding of quality parts under control:

  • Setup Xpert automates mold setup by using either CAE analysis, manually entered or uploaded machine profiles, or the MPX's own expert rules-based setup wizard. It also automates the optimization of key processing parameters, everything from shot size and cooling time to speeds and pressures.

  • Moldspace Xpert quickly identifies a robust processing window for producing high-quality parts by automatically performing a DOE. It does the DOE in a matter of minutes, based on simple part quality feedback the user provides. Proficiency in DOE techniques is not required.

  • Production Xpert graphically monitors key parameters and process-specific trends to determine optimum QC limits. When it detects drift, it can either alarm users to take action or it can be set to automatically compensate for process variation on the next shot like an adaptive closed loop controller.

Denso Manufacturing Australia achieved more than $14,000 in manufacturing cost savings in just over eight months of trialing the Moldflow Plastics Xpert.

On Trial
Denso Manufacturing Australia Pty Ltd (DMA), a high-volume automotive parts custom molder, has been a loyal Moldflow customer for more than 10 years, since long before Moldflow became a U.S.-based corporation. In trials of just over eight months, DMA had achieved savings of more than $14,000, and it anticipates a fast payback in just two years from its investment in Moldflow's MPX.

For the trials, the MPX was installed on a 450-ton Battenfeld at DMA. Setup Xpert was tested on three production molds producing similar parts. The first had a long cycle time and parts produced exhibited surface defects. The second produced parts with a weldline and slight burn marks at the end of fill. The third mold ran flawlessly.

Initial machine setup typically took two hours at DMA. Using Setup Xpert, initial setup took about 30 minutes. DMA's engineers also found the MPX system had a friendlier user interface than the molding machine's controller. For example, it was easier to adjust filling and packing profiles on the MPX.

"Using Setup Xpert, we were able to achieve a much faster setup of the injection molding machine than normal, freeing our engineers and technicians for other work," says Darren Cooper, DMA's engineering manager. "We also produced more parts that met the dimensional specs than we did using the usual settings."

Plans call for modifying the problem molds producing dimensionally inaccurate parts to better suit them to the MPX's Setup Xpert settings. Cooper expects to achieve phenomenal cycle time savings of as much as 20 seconds, as well as producing better parts.

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