How do I complete a Fill study in SOLIDWORKS Plastics?
How do I complete a Fill study in SOLIDWORKS Plastics? Utilizing the analysis capabilities of SOLIDWORKS Plastics early in the product development cycle enables users to optimize the plastic injection molding process, create high quality parts, and reduce manufacturing costs. A Fill study is the first analysis that users perform with SOLIDWORKS Plastics. How the molten plastic resin is injected into a mold cavity depends upon multiple factors, such as injection pressure and temperature, part wall thickness, mold wall temperature, and resin properties, to name a few.
All SOLIDWORKS analysis products share a common theme; each tool follows a step-by-step procedure to set up a study, though the order of operations may change slightly. All SOLIDWORKS Plastics analyses start with creating a study. Multiple injection processes are available for a solid-meshed SOLIDWORKS Plastics study, however, I’m going to focus on the simplest Fill analysis, a single material, shell-meshed study.
With the study created, the next step is to apply boundary conditions. For a single material, shell-meshed study there are several options, though every SOLIDWORKS Plastics project must include an injection location.
Earlier versions of SOLIDWORKS Plastics used a node on the surface of the mesh for an injection location, but from SOLIDWORKS Plastics 2020 and forward, the injection location will always be a geometry based boundary condition. For the model shown in the picture below, this is a vertex on the CAD geometry. The vertex represents the gate location on the part; it does not consider gate geometry.
The next step is to create a mesh of the CAD model for the SOLIDWORKS Plastics analysis. Like SOLIDWORKS Simulation and SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation, the slider bar determines how coarse or fine the created mesh will be. A coarse mesh (larger element size) will solve faster, however, the accuracy of the solution will be reduced. Alternatively, a finer mesh (smaller element size) will take longer to solve but will achieve a higher fidelity solution.
With the mesh created for the SOLIDWORKS Plastics study saved to the hard drive, it’s time to specify the rest of the data for the study to solve. Assign a material to the project by right-clicking on Polymer under the Material folder in the SOLIDWORKS Plastics project study feature tree. Alternatively, after you have solved a few SOLIDWORKS Plastics studies, you can select a material from your Recently Used Material list.
Scroll through the list of material families, like ABS or Polypropylene (PP) and find the resin to use for the analysis. You can also use the search capability to find a resin by name.
The next step is to specify the Process Parameters of the SOLIDWORKS Plastics study. For this initial analysis only the Fill Settings need to be included. Expand the Process Parameters folder, then right-click on Fill Settings to open that property manager.
Because SOLIDWORKS Plastics is a CAD-embedded analysis tool, the software recognizes the part volume and suggests a Filling time for the part. The default values for all the Fill Settings seen in the property manager can be overridden at the user’s discretion. The values for Melt Temperature and Mold Temperature are specified in the resin properties for the selected material. The Injection Pressure Limit and Clamp Force Limit can be modified to match the capabilities of the injection molding machine.
The study type has been selected. The boundary conditions have been assigned. The mesh has been generated. The material has been selected. The Fill settings have been set. Now it’s time to solve the study by expanding the Run folder, then right clicking on Flow and choosing Run. The solver window will appear, and the progress of the solution will be shown, both in the SOLIDWORKS graphics area and the solver window text. The time it takes for the SOLIDWORKS Plastics study to solve is largely dependent upon the size of the mesh.
When complete, review the data generated for the solution to the project. The SOLIDWORKS Plastics Results Adviser appears automatically and provides a brief explanation of each output quantity. Review the different outputs by selecting them by a left click within the Available Results list in the property manager. Some of the result quantities can be animated, such as the Fill Time plot.
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Product Specialist, Simulation
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Computer Aided Technology, Inc.