Sponsored By

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.

MPX specifics

MPX is designed to work beside your existing molding machine controller, not to replace it. Installing and configuring the factory-hardened computer heart of MPX to a press can be accomplished quickly using industry-standard interface connections. Moldflow sends customers a tech-service engineer for onsite installation and training.

MPX uses a laptop with a simple GUI for running its industrial strength, QNX-based, real-time operating system. Personnel can become familiar with the screen displays of a single type of machine controller, even in plants with several different brands of machines. Through its ethernet link, MPX can be wired to a plantwide Ethernet system or through the Internet to the whole world.

Moldflow officials are quick to point out that MPX is a tool, not a magic button. Their objectives:

  • make molding more of a plug-and-play process for more efficient labor utilization,

  • put a common face on machine control,

  • close the loop between design and manufacturing,

  • enable users to get started more quickly and consistently, and

  • reduce cycle times and material scrap while increasing good parts yield.


Contact information
Moldflow Corp.
Lexington, MA
Dawn Rogers
Phone: (781) 674-0085
Fax: (781) 674-0267

Sign up for the PlasticsToday NewsFeed newsletter.

You May Also Like