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Technology applied: Casting simulation procedures

2024-03-08

Technology applied: Casting simulation procedures

模流, 模流軟體, 模流分析, Mold flow analysis, Mold Simulation, 金型シミュレーション, 鋳造シミュレーション,
In the previous section, we provided a brief introduction to casting and molding simulation software. We believe that readers who have gone through it now have a basic understanding of casting and molding simulation software.
For those who haven’t read it yet, you can click on the link below to check it out.

In the following section, we will discuss how casting simulation software is applied in practical scenarios.

The timing and key points of using Molding simulation software

Let’s review. molding simulation, using CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) technology, allows users to simulate and validate design schemes before and after mold and product development. So, how is it actually applied in development, and what are its key points?

  • Before Mold and Product Development

    Molding simulation software is often utilized in PD (Product Development) before mold and product development. It assists developers in simulating production, defect detection, condition verification, etc., based on the anticipated design schemes. This helps developers modify mold and product designs and optimize related manufacturing conditions (materials, temperature, pressure, speed, etc.).
    The animation link below demonstrates how Yamaha Motor in Japan leverages the features of Casting simulation software to perform flow analysis and mold thermal analysis on design schemes before actual mold production. This results in shorter lead times, lower manufacturing costs, and superior product structures.

    (* Quoted from Yamaha-motor recruit Youtube Channel)

  • After Mold and Product Development

    After mold and product development, molding simulation software is applied to QI (Quality Improvement). It is used to analyze the problems and causes of defects that occur in products and to verify whether related improvement measures are effective. In the actual design improvement process, the use of molding simulation software with CAE technology is typically illustrated as shown in the diagram below, applied between information gathering and design improvement. By utilizing molding simulation software at this stage, engineers can efficiently identify the causes of defects when defects are found in products and can implement related improvement measures based on evidence.

  • Key Points of Molding Simulation Software Application

    When integrating molding simulation software into the development process, significant improvements are not immediately apparent. Instead, it takes time to repeatedly experiment and verify for it to be effective. As mentioned in the previous section, the results analyzed by molding simulation software can be considered as laboratory data obtained under ideal conditions. If the analysis conditions cannot be close to the actual environment, the results are prone to deviation and cannot be used as effective improvement basis.

    Therefore, the most important aspect of using casting simulation software is continuous trial and error for relevant manufacturing conditions and repeated verification with actual manufacturing situations. Only when the analysis results match the actual conditions can the design schemes and product quality be gradually improved. This verification process is based on the same principles as the development process and requires both time and patience to complete.

Practical Application of Casting Simulation Software

Based on the previous explanation, we understand the timing and key points of using casting simulation software. But how is it actually applied?

Currently, although there are many vendors selling casting simulation software on the market, the concepts of application are generally similar. After all, the purpose of using casting simulation software is to analyze the flow and solidification of molten metal inside the mold during the manufacturing process, which cannot be observed directly. However, strictly speaking, the differences among software produced by different vendors lie mainly in the analysis methods, accuracy, and speed.

In the following sections, we will practically use casting simulation software to simulate the casting process, demonstrating how to apply casting simulation software in practice.

  • Casting simulation Tool and Target Model

    For this Casting simulation, we will utilize the Casting simulation software “Novacast NovaOne HPD” developed by Novacast in Sweden to analyze the design of a metal cover in development. The primary objective of this mold flow analysis is to assess the adequacy of the design and identify potential defects before the actual mold production.

  • Casting simulation Process

    First, import the target model file in STL (Standard Triangulated Language) or STEP (Standard for the Exchange of Product Data) format into the casting simulation software. Adjust the orientation of the model for better readability, and then export the file for later use.

    After preprocessing the file with mesh clipping, configure the manufacturing conditions for simulation (such as mold and casting material types, temperature, pressure, injection speed, venting valves, etc.), and export the file for later use. It’s worth noting that if there are discrepancies between the simulated manufacturing conditions and the actual conditions on the production floor, the analysis results won’t serve as reliable references for parameter adjustments. Therefore, it’s crucial to set the simulation manufacturing conditions based on confirmed actual conditions to ensure the analysis results align closely with reality.
    [* The following image is at 32x speed. Actual setup time is approximately 3 minutes.]
    Novacast, NovaOne, 模流軟體, 模流软体, 模流分析, 模流分析, 鋳造シミュレーション, Casting Simulation, Molding Simulation,

    Next, place the configured file into the Casting simulator, verify that the export conditions meet the requirements, and commence the casting simulation. After the analysis is complete, you can determine whether there will be any related defects or if the manufacturing conditions are appropriate for production with the given design and manufacturing conditions. Additionally, the actual analysis time varies depending on the set casting simulation conditions (total mesh count, analysis content, etc.) and the hardware specifications of the PC equipment used.
    [* The following image is at 64x speed. Actual analysis time is approximately 15.5 minutes.]
    Novacast, NovaOne, 模流軟體, 模流软体, 模流分析, 模流分析, 鋳造シミュレーション, Casting Simulation, Molding Simulation,

  • Casting Simulation Results

    In terms of analysis results, while the nomenclature may vary slightly between different developers, basic categories such as flow, solidification, temperature, velocity, air entrapment, shrinkage, etc., are typically available for operators to review and analyze defect issues. Depending on the purchased module content, some software may even provide advanced features such as gas calculation, mold erosion analysis, thermal stress analysis, etc., allowing operators to conduct further analysis and confirmation of design schemes.

    • Flow
      Novacast, NovaOne, 模流軟體, 模流软体, 模流分析, 模流分析, 鋳造シミュレーション, Casting Simulation, Molding Simulation,
    • Solid
      Novacast, NovaOne, 模流軟體, 模流软体, 模流分析, 模流分析, 鋳造シミュレーション, Casting Simulation, Molding Simulation,
    • Temperature
      Novacast, NovaOne, 模流軟體, 模流软体, 模流分析, 模流分析, 鋳造シミュレーション, Casting Simulation, Molding Simulation,
    • Velocity
      Novacast, NovaOne, 模流軟體, 模流软体, 模流分析, 模流分析, 鋳造シミュレーション, Casting Simulation, Molding Simulation,
    • Air enterment
      Novacast, NovaOne, 模流軟體, 模流软体, 模流分析, 模流分析, 鋳造シミュレーション, Casting Simulation, Molding Simulation,
    • Shrinkage
      Novacast, NovaOne, 模流軟體, 模流软体, 模流分析, 模流分析, 鋳造シミュレーション, Casting Simulation, Molding Simulation,
      Novacast, NovaOne, 模流軟體, 模流软体, 模流分析, 模流分析, 鋳造シミュレーション, Casting Simulation, Molding Simulation,
  • Manufacturing Conditions and Design Improvement

    After completing the casting simulation and confirming the analysis results, the next step is to evaluate the manufacturing conditions and design schemes. Generally, this process can be divided into three stages:

    • Analysis Result Review:
      During this stage, design engineers must use the analysis results obtained from the casting simulation as a basis. After improving the manufacturing conditions and design schemes, the results need to be reviewed again. This review is conducted to confirm whether the related improvement measures are effective and whether they can address the identified defect issues. If the improvement measures are found to be ineffective, a reevaluation of the manufacturing conditions and design schemes is necessary.
    • Product Trial Assessment:
      After the review of the analysis results, assuming that the design scheme and manufacturing conditions are simulated without issues and the results are close to reality, the production of molds can begin, followed by the production of trial products. The trial products are then evaluated to determine if any defects occur. If defects are identified, relevant information can be collected and fed back into the mold flow software for analysis, and the results can be used for further improvements in molds and products.
    • Mass Production of Products:
      Once the issues identified during the product review and trial assessment stages are addressed, mass production of the product can commence. If defects occur during mass production, the aforementioned process can be repeated to implement relevant improvement measures. The process of improving the design scheme using casting simulation software is similar both before the production of molds and after defects occur in the product.

Up to this point, we have simulated the design schemes “before actual mold production.” In addition, we have been able to review and improve various defect issues even before making the molds. If casting simulation software can be applied in the development field, it should assist product designers and mold developers in defect detection, mold scheme optimization, and quality enhancement in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

Finally, with this explanation, I believe everyone now understands how to practically utilize mold flow software. In the next section, we will further elaborate on common casting defects and their causes.

So, I look forward to seeing you in the next section.

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