SOLIDWORKS Plastics is the missing link for a truly collaborative product development strategy. You don‘t have to be an expert to use SOLIDWORKS Plastics, it is used in the product development process by Design Engineers, Mold Makers and Plastics Injection Manufacturers.
The analysis tools of SOLIDWORKS Plastics allow you to simulate the Fill, Pack, Warp and Cooling stages on manufacturing a part. Let's take a look at these tools in action on a wheel spokes hub from a Parrot MiniDrone Jumping Sumo.
From reading CAD data, to meshing, solving, and results processing, SOLIDWORKS Plastics does it all. So whether you are creating an automatic mesh, setting the process conditions, or viewing the results, you never leave the SOLIDWORKS environment. Data can be imported from other CAD systems as well as SOLIDWORKS native datasets.
SOLIDWORKS Plastics comes in three levels:
1) Standard - which contains the Fill stage
2) Professional - which has the Fill/Pack stage
3) Premium - which contain Fill/Pack stage plus the addition of Warp and Cooling processes
1) SOLIDWORKS Plastics Standard (Fill Stage)
SOLIDWORKS Plastics FILL is the base plug-in package for conducting an analysis in the SOLIDWORKS environment. You can study flow patterns, weld lines, air traps, effect of gate positioning, runner design as well as distributions of pressure, temperature, etc. It contains the powerful pre and post-processing modules as well as shell and full 3D meshing technologies.
2) SOLIDWORKS Plastics Professional (Fill/Pack Stage)
SOLIDWORKS Plastics PACK plug-in module conducts the analysis during the post-filling phase. The module calculates the residual stress, volumetric and linear shrinkage, and allows you to determine the optimum pressure holding time and clamping forces. SOLIDWORKS Plastics PACK also indicates the locations of sink marks.
3) SOLIDWORKS Plastics Premium (Warp/Cool)
SOLIDWORKS Plastics WARP plug-in module is used to calculate the warpage deflection of the part. The animation of the deflection shows the deformation in all directions and also the total deflection. The visualization of deflection can depend on the residual and thermal stress. Linear shrinkage can also be added. SOLIDWORKS Plastics WARP also includes links to structural analysis, as well as export of the counter deformed geometry for mold design optimization.
SOLIDWORKS Plastics COOL plug-in module conducts the thermal analysis. The module calculates the optimum cooling time, thermal stress, and temperature distribution. You can also create your own cooling channel design and test it to determine the optimum configuration.
SOLIDWORKS Plastics extensive built-in databank contains more than 5000 material data sets which are most commonly used in the plastic injection industry. The majority of these material sets include important PVT (pressure, velocity, temperature) data which are necessary for accurate calculations of warpage. If you would like to add your own material it‘s a piece of cake because our databank is fully customizable. Best of all, it‘s a standard feature so no need to pay for an extra module.
What's the next step?
SOLIDWORKS Plastics intuitive pre-processor uses a structured top-down approach. Whenever you complete a setting in a dialogue box a check mark will appear so it reminds you what has been completed and what still needs to be set. For new users and novices there is no need to fear... SOLIDWORKS Plastics provides a Wizard to guide you step-by-step through the entire process so you won‘t steer off course. It‘s like having your own consultant at your fingertips.
The results can be viewed and analyzed in a multitude of ways including contour plots, iso-lines, flow vectors and visualization of air traps and weld lines. The results can either be presented for the state of the plastic at the end of the process or coupled to the melt front. Each of the results can be animated giving you powerful insight into the flow behavior and unlocking your ideas to improve and optimize the design. With our full 3D technology you can take a look inside your model using clipping planes or iso-surfaces. You can define these to suit your needs and, as usual, they can be animated to give you true insight into the flow dynamics. You can even make your part transparent or glass-like and watch the plastic melt-flow and swell through the cavity. This feeling for the flow dynamics gives you real ability to identify problems in addition to making intelligent decisions on how to avoid and fix them. This is simply not possible with physical testing.
Pre-process for SOLIDWORKS Simulation Tool
We can take our end results from SOLIDWORKS Plastics such as Total Stress, In-Mold or Quenching Stress and export the results for use in SOLIDWORKS Simulation. This gives SOLIDWORKS Simulation a molded start point for processing. In the next blog article we will be doing just that.
On this wheel spokes model I took three gates at the center of the hub, using a 30% glass filled Nylon material. Using tools such as SOLIDWORKS Plastics we can make adjustments to the model, gate, runner, etc. before even producing a prototype mold; saving time and money while the model is still in the digital form. Check out a related Alignex Blog post "Virtually Testing a Jumping Drone Part with Linear Static Analysis" on how we took the information for this model and injected it into the FEA (Finite Element Analysis) Simulation study.
Alignex Races - Join in on the FUN!
See this Parrot Jumping Sumo MiniDrone in action during our first annual Alignex Races. Find us on Twitter @Alignex and search for #AlignexRaces for photos and the latest race information. Plus, check out a video on our YouTube Channel of our Tech and Sales teams battling for the bragging right of "Drone Champion."
Written by Dean Schley
Dean Schley is a Senior Application Engineer at Alignex, Inc. Dean spends his days working with customers from a variety of different engineering disciplines. If he’s not hard at work solving their challenges, he’s probably observing his backyard weather station—tracking and photographing the latest storm.