How much of a help can software be in injection molding? Here is what a few software users have to say:
"Traditionally, moldmaking is an inexact science - a black art," says Felim McNeela, managing director of Avenue Mould in Sligo, Ireland. "The effort is prone to human error in both the design and manufacturing process." Avenue tries to take the guesswork out of the process with software, specifically Moldflow (www.moldflow.com). McNeela says the company has recovered its software investment several times over. He adds that software can help molders survive during a time when customers are demanding more from the industry in terms of services and expertise.
David Crispino, president of Jada Plastics (Rochester, NY), says his company has eliminated 35 percent scrap rate using Moldflow to evaluate and determine gate locations to make sure weld lines will not appear in critical areas, to eliminate the possibilities of air traps, and to establish accurate pressures to fill with regard to gate locations.
The company uses the software to evaluate and determine gate locations, assure weld lines will not appear in critical areas, eliminate the possibilities of air traps, and establish accurate pressures to fill with regard to gate locations.
Senior Coin Acceptors' (St. Louis MO) engineer Max Molenaar supervises the tool design and drafting departments, model shop, prototyping, and computer-aided engineering activities, including the use of Moldflow Plastics Insight (MPI). He says the software is an integral part of the overall design process. He says that upfront analysis also help him make more informed decisions. "We could have a scenario where instead of cooling the mold with water, we could opt for using beryllium copper," Molenaar says. "The software eliminates trial and error." It's also saved him 120 man-hours.
Paul Shepheard, technical director of Swift Technologies LTD. (Cambridgeshire, UK), a materials technology company, says that the company's Swiftool Rapid Manufacturing System aids in quickly and economically producing plastic or polymer moldings. The technology is based on a smart polymetric tooling medium that facilitates the blending of material and manufacture of mold tools on site. The process involves application of pressure and vacuum to the Swiftool composite via purpose designed vacuum presses. Shepheard says that using Moldflow allows his team to locate design errors quickly.
Molders are increasingly using software to aid in tool design, gating, and other tasks.