SOLIDWORKS Plastics

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SOLIDWORKS today announced a new tool called SOLIDWORKS Plastics. SOLIDWORKS Plastics provides tools that help manufacturers validate and optimize the design of plastic parts and injection molds.

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What is the big deal?

Optimal process settings are critical to influencing the cost, quality and productivity of plastic injection molding. The main trouble with injection molding is to have a box of good parts contaminated with scrap. For that reason process optimization studies have to be done and process monitoring has to take place. To have a good part come out of the mold the following issues are typically investigated:

Fill phase: this can be optimized by varying screw turns per minute and back pressure. Variation of time needed to reload the screw gives an indication of stability of this phase. Injection speed is another critical factor in the fill process. Varying injection speed changes the material damage (shear rate).

Gate location : A good position will help prevent lack of material to fill the cavity or popularly known as short shot. Injection speed and pressure will also need to be studied to prevent short shot.

When mold and/or material temperatures are low, the material is cold when the melt front meets, so they do not bond well. This leads to developing a Weld line, also referred to as Knit line. Fill time and pressure need to be studied to reduce or eliminate weld lines.

If the pressure applied in packing stage is low, or cooling time is too short it can lead to localized depression or Sink Marks on the part. Pressure applied and cooling time is studied to ensure sink marks are minimized.

These are just some of the issues part and mold makers need to worry about before they have a working injection molding process. Typical trouble shooting process would entail industrial CT scanning of mold. Also, multiple trial and error cycles at the machine. These are both expensive and time consuming.

SOLIDWORKS Plastics simulates how melted plastic flows during the injection molding process to predict manufacturing related defects on your parts. Once the defects are identified, they can be easily minimized or eliminated by making changes to part design, mold design, plastic material, or processing parameters. This is all done in a friendly SOLIDWORKS environment.

Tune in for more on this exciting new tool from SolidWorks.

Rajat Trehan

Product Manager

Computer Aided Technology Inc.