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Process Simulation in Elastomer Applications: Identifying non-productive times pays off

The process-oriented approach of SIGMASOFT® makes it possible to use injection molding simulation of elastomer applications not only for filling or cooling times, but also the non-productive times between each process phase. When the process is simulated considering the influence of operational times occurring between the main process stages, the accuracy of the simulation is dramatically improved.

Temperature distribution in a metallic component overmolded with elastomer. Left: without consideration of the mold opening time; right: considering a mold opening time of 60s.

Schaumburg, IL, September 7, 2012 – Even though it is not necessary to include them to complete an injection molding simulation, the non-productive times have a major influence on the process and on part quality. Process Simulation Software SIGMASOFT®, from SIGMA®, can include non-productive times in the simulation enabling substantial improvement in the accuracy of the results to be achieved.

Taking into consideration the times in which the mold opens and closes, the times in which it is heated up or cleaned, as well as handling times when the inserts are placed simulation makes it possible to accurately analyze the process cycle. The interaction between all mold components has to be considered and cycle times have to be predicted accurately. That way even factors that influence the part quality, such as the curing degree, can be predicted by the simulation.

An example is presented in Figure 1. In this case the mold temperature decreases during the time period when the mold stays open. If this time is not considered in the simulation, the prediction of the whole cycle time, as well as the prediction of the cooling time or curing degree, will be erroneous. Besides, the predicted quality of the parts produced can deviate from reality.

In SIGMASOFT®, such non-productive times can be defined and varied separately in the simulation. Therefore, besides calculating the whole cycle, it is also possible to perform trouble-shooting of problems at each of the production stages. Through the utilization of simulation it is possible to decide if changes in the process definition are enough to solve production problems, or if the mold has to be reworked to achieve the desired quality and productivity goals.

SIGMA® (www.sigmasoft.de) is 100% owned by MAGMA® (www.magmasoft.de), the world market leader in casting process simulation technology based in Aachen, Germany. Our SIGMASOFT® process simulation solution optimizes the manufacturing process for injection molded plastic components. SIGMASOFT® combines the 3D geometry of the parts and runners with the complete mold assembly and temperature control system and incorporates the actual production process to develop a turnkey injection mold with an optimized process.

At SIGMA® and MAGMA®, our goal is to help our customers achieve required part quality during the first trial. The two product lines – injection molded polymers and metal castings – share the same 3D simulation technologies focused on the simultaneous optimization of design and process. SIGMASOFT® thus includes a variety of process-specific models and 3D simulation methods developed, validated and constantly improved for over 25 years. A process-driven simulation tool, SIGMASOFT®, with its comprehensive simulation approach, provides a tremendous benefit to production facilities. Imagine your business when every mold you build produces required quality the first time, every time. That is our goal. This technology cannot be compared to any other conventional “Design” simulation approach employed in plastics injection molding.

New product success requires a different communication between designs, materials, and processes that design simulation is not meant for. SIGMASOFT® provides this communication. SIGMA® support engineers, with 450 years of combined technical education and practical experience, can support your engineering goals with applications specific solutions. SIGMA® offers direct sales, engineering, training, implementation, and support, by plastics engineers worldwide.

For more information:

Christof Heisser or Matt Proske

SIGMA Plastic Services, Inc.

10 N. Martingale Road, Suite 425

Schaumburg, IL 60173

Phone: 847-558-5600

Email: contact@3dsigma.com

Web: www.3dsigma.com