SolidWorks Plastics is for companies that design plastic parts or injections molds to predict and avoid manufacturing defects during the earliest stages of part or mold design so they can eliminate costly mold rework, improve part quality and decrease time to market.
The value proposition is simple:
- Injection molding is the most common manufacturing process used to convert plastic pellets into molded parts – meaning that at least 8 out of every 10 plastic parts are injection molded.
- Injection molding is a complex mix of time, temperature, pressure, material and tooling variables – in other words, there’s a lot that can go wrong.
- Injection molds are expensive – costs can range from $10,000’s to $100,000’s, to over $1M for just one mold. So mistakes can be expensive and time-consuming to fix.
Therefore, using SolidWorks Plastics to avoid just one round of mold rework can often justify the cost of the software (in other words, it pays for itself very quickly).
In order to perform the kinds of manufacturing checks we do with SolidWorks Plastics, there are some key capabilities required:
- First is an extensive material database that contains over 4,000 commercial plastics. This means that the materials our customers are using are probably on our database today. And if a specific material is not on the database, the database can be customized by importing the data for that specific grade.
- Second, provide a very wide range of testing capabilities and viewable results, and…
- Follow typical SolidWorks workflows, the user is guided through analysis setup and results interpretation.
Example of Insert Overmolding with SolidWorks Plastic. This plot shows the temperature distribution of the plastic melt and copper inserts at the end of filling.
For fiber-filled materials – containing glass fibers, carbon fibers, etc. – this analysis will predict the resulting fiber orientation and mechanical properties of a molded part.
All injection molded plastic parts will shrink to some extent as they cool down from a molten state to a solid state. If the shrinkage is relatively uniform throughout the part, the normal result is a molded part that is slightly smaller than the dimensions of the mold cavity it was formed in. However, if the shrinkage is non-uniform, that can lead to part warpage and unacceptable part quality. SolidWorks Plastics Premium can be used to predict the volumetric shrinkage of a molded part after the packing phase of the injection molding process. It’s important to observe shrinkage after the packing phase because pack pressure and time can have a significant effect on the final part shrinkage.
SolidWorks Plastics runs fully embedded inside of SolidWorks – that means no data translation issues and users do not have to learn how to use another interface to get their job done. It’s also easy to learn and use, and… plus it’s fast and accurate.
So is SolidWorks Plastics something you should consider? Let’s dive into some common scenarios that I hear our customers talking about and how SolidWorks Plastics can help.
Hidden Costs – Companies’ budget time and money for multiple rounds of time-consuming and costly mold rework. If SolidWorks Plastics products can be used to ensure the mold works right the first time, you can eliminate this built in rework budget, decreasing time to market and tooling costs.
Many companies exhibit manufacturing defects and wish to reduce scrap – Failure to optimize plastic part designs increases manufacturing defects and production scrap rates. Some polymers can only be recycled once or twice, especially in medical product designs.
Inefficient “Islands of Automation” – Part designers, mold designers, mold makers and manufacturers are usually dispersed across not only offices but in many cases continents. SolidWorks Plastics provides automated report generation tools allowing increased collaboration among distributed development teams. This results in improved understanding of design objectives across the extended supply chain.
Is this something that your company is interested in learning about? Maybe you have used other mold filling software in the past or currently? If so, you should definitely check out the events that we have coming up this January to learn how you can increase design quality and reduce lead time and per part costs.