This is a great example of intergration of CAD and analysis to promote manufacturability. I am impressed with the real-time feedback aspects. It will reduce design cycle times and allow more consideration of sustainability, manufacturability and other desirable features.
This is a great feature in a design tool. It's so very difficult to create a design that works well, looks good and can be molded. You'll still want a mold guru to review the design, but having the tool review your work is a true value added.
@Naperlou and @Tekochip: Sounds like you both are on the same page as to where this kind of CAD/CAE integration can pay off in terms of optimized plastic parts design. The whole value proposition is having this insight earlier on in the process so there is less rework and less wasted time going back and redesigning. I'm sure we'll see a lot more capabilities in this space as injected molded parts are on the rise.
@Chuck: You're right in that the goal of taking weight out of a plastic part is much like FEA, but this particularly type of simulation is really designed as a complement to FEA. It's focus isn't just on structural integrity, but rather about being able to design a plastic part and mold that is manufacturable and manufacturable in an optimized way. I suppose some FEA principles are supported by the tool, but it's really designed to highlight possible problems with a design prior to the finished design in the hopes of eliminating the need to rework expensive injection molds at the last minute.
Wish there was more detail about SolidWorks' plastic CAD features. Autodesk seems to get the lion's share of this article. Our company is interested in transitioning to plastic parts instead of machined parts and I use SolidWorks, so I'm looking forward to any features that might natively support injection molded part design.
These simulation tools are great additions to the CAD products. Moldflow used to be relatively cumbersome due to the limited modeling capability of the software. Now using the same CAD software that you use for the part design to run the analyisis is a true timesaver. It also allows the part designer to look at multiple gating locations on the part and see how the plastic flows in the part before steel is cut.
I'm liking the enhanced long fiber analysis option. Many times when we use blended plastic compounds with these fibers, they can be a little bit unpredictable. It would be interesting to see how well this analysis matches the actual results.
@Tim: I think you hit on the primary benefits of this kind of integrated CAE/CAD technology. It's really about streamlining the workflow and making the high-end analysis functionality accessible in an environment and within an interface that makes sense and is familiar that is so compelling.
BMW has already incorporated more than 10,000 3D-printed parts in the Rolls-Royce Phantom and intends to expand the use of 3D printing in its cars even more in the future. Meanwhile, Daimler has started using additive manufacturing for producing spare parts in Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
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