Simplified production of metal/plastic parts

In the "Medimold" research project, Simcon worked with research partners to develop a single-stage production process for metal/plastic hybrids. Metal/plastic hybrids are used for printed-board circuit tracks, for example. The new process reduces setup and assembly times for production as well as cutting back on material consumption and the number of work stages required.

The intelligent combination of plastics and metal in a hybrid part keeps the weight of the part down to a minimum, and producers also save costs, since no finishing work is required and single-stage processes are possible. To date, metal parts produced in a separate process beforehand have been overmolded to form hybrid parts.

The "Medimold" research project has now gone one step further: Simcon, the experts for injection molding, the Foundry Institute of RWTH Aachen University and the Kunststoff-Institut Lüdenscheid have developed a faster and more cost-efficient single-stage process for hybrid part production together with additional partners from industry (Krauss Maffei, Ravi and many more). This process involves the metal conductor being injected onto the plastic part in one and the same mold. The project is being funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

"This single-stage, two-component process marks new territory for all the project partners", says Max Mades, project manager at Simcon. "In participating in this project, we remain right at the forefront in the development of new processes."

For the research project, the partners developed a special injection mold with a metal injection unit. In selecting the materials, the team took recyclability into account in addition to the thermal and electric properties. A tin-based alloy was selected for the metal part and, for the plastic part, the partners opted for both thermoplastics and thermosets.

In a large number of tests, the research partners determined the interactions between the metal and plastic, together with the optimum process parameters. Simcon supported the project with extensive simulations and contributed its expertise in the field of plastics processing. The results show that the single-stage process has a high potential in terms of cycle time, production efficiency and machine utilization.

The investigations also showed that the forces of inertia are a key factor. "With plastic melts, the forces of inertia can be neglected on account of the high viscosity", Mades explains. "The situation is different with metals. Cadmould can now make allowance for this phenomenon and simulate molten metals too." This pioneering work will also benefit Simcon customers: as of October 2019, Cadmould 3D-F will be available in Version 12 – including the extended functionality for molten metals for the first time.

More information on the Medimold research project can be found at www.medimold.de

 

 

Injection molding simulation

Press release Simcon kunststofftechnische Software GmbH

March 2019

 

Now possible: Simulation of cooling with Hasco TempFlex hoses

The new simulation software, Cadmould Version 11 from Simcon with its vastly extended 3D T-Box, now also calculates mold cooling with Hasco TempFlex hoses. The conformal routing of the cooling fluid in the injection mold can now be optimized at an early stage in a cost-efficient manner.

Würselen. – Correct temperature control of the mold is decisive for cycle time and part quality in plastics injection molding. The Cadmould modular simulation software from Simcon can be used to precisely calculate the cooling of the mold at the planning stage already and configure it in the optimum manner. With the current Version 11, this can now be achieved for Hasco TempFlex hoses too. In this way, more effective and uniform temperature control can be achieved with fewer test loops, thus saving time and money.

TempFlex function added to Cadmould 11

With this extended function, Simcon is now enabling a large number of users to effectively deploy selective mold temperature control. Contrary to the case with simple cooling channels, Hasco TempFlex hoses allow conformal cooling of complex plastics geometries too. More gentle deflections of the temperature control medium reduce pressure loss and increase flow rates. Complex parts are cooled more rapidly and with less warpage – ensuring a higher production capacity and improved part quality. The hoses also eliminate the need for complex sealing of the mold planes, as is necessary with cooling holes that extend over more than one mold plate.

"When cooling water flows through a hole and is in direct contact with the mold wall, the transfer of heat naturally differs from cases where the water first comes into contact with the wall of a hose", explains Angela Kriescher, product manager at Simcon. "This temperature behavior – including the influence of the hose diameter and the flow rate, as well as the length of the cooling channel and the resulting pressure loss – is now taken into account by Cadmould 11 with just a single click." The vastly extended "T-Box" module automatically determines the coefficient of heat transfer and depicts the temperature at each individual point of the system. Users also have the option of varying all the different parameters, such as the cooling channel layout, flow direction, parting surfaces and materials, so as to configure an optimum injection mold.

More efficient workflow for mold planning

In the past, when TempFlex hoses were used, the parting surfaces in the molds were determined by trial and error and the cooling channels then milled and the hoses placed inside them. Cadmould 11 now makes the procedure considerably more efficient: to depict the temperature profile in the mold, it is sufficient to have rough sketches and drawings at the initial stage of planning. "The software calculates the flow of the cooling fluid and, from the heat exchange with the mold, works out the current temperature of the cooling medium", says Kriescher. This then ensures high-precision simulation of mold cooling.

 

 

Simcon celebrates its 30th anniversary: an interview with Dr. Paul F. Filz and Ines Filz

The simulation specialist Simcon is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, an ideal opportunity to speak to its managing directors Dr.-Ing Paul F. Filz and Dipl. Psych. Ines Filz about the early days of simulation and its future.

Question: “Simcon is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. What philosophy has the company pursued in over the last three successful decades?”

Dr. Paul F. Filz: “Simcon entered the market 30 years ago to provide simulation and consulting services to the injection molding industry, helping it to develop faster, develop better, and ultimately to achieve first-class part quality at the lowest possible price, although today the methods used are completely different to those that were used back then. The degree of automation and customer expectations are much higher than back then in the early years.”

Question: “How does a company where employees need to deal with current technical issues and challenges creatively and in a visionary way need to be organized?”

Ines Filz: “We are a dynamic, innovative family-run business. We have flat hierarchies with short communication and decision-making channels. This is how it works: an employee has an idea, presents it to management and then we either say yes or no. This is a relatively quick and uncomplicated process.
What is most important to us is that the team feels comfortable and that we can communicate transparently. We have worked extremely hard to achieve this, especially in recent years. We organize unusual events, ranging from team escapes and lasertag games to excursions to the Eifel hills to cut Christmas trees. We celebrate birthdays together, there’s table soccer in the breaks, and we throw summer festivals for our employees and their families. We are familiar with the personal situation of our employees, allowing us to respond flexibly to particular needs and circumstances, which generates positive feedback from our employees. As a result, we enjoy very low employee turnover, which of course has a great positive impact on the company's corporate culture.”

Question: “Dr. Filz, which specific product did you take your first step into self-employment with, back in 1988?”

Dr. Paul F. Filz: “We started out with the Cadmould, which was originally developed at the Institute for Plastics Processing (IKV) at RWTH Aachen, where I was responsible for R&D for a few years back then. After that, we collaborated to seek a commercially and technically viable solution to gain access to the market for the product in an industrial environment, as a professional supplier of the product developed at the IKV. Although it provides ideal conditions for developing innovative solutions, but an institute at a university isn’t actually able to sustainably deliver an industrially useful product together with the necessary support. Achieving both of these objectives was thus the idea behind founding Simcon.”

Question: What benefits did the original version offer its users?

Dr. Paul F. Filz: “The original version was already capable of computing mold filling, although it didn’t use such a detailed physical approach as is possible now. The results were considerably less precise by comparison, but you could see the mold filling and it was possible for the user to calculate pressure losses, melt temperatures etc. Not long after it was launched, it was already possible to calculate the influence of the holding-pressure phase in the mold as well as the alignment of the fibers in the part.”

Question: “What was the background to the development of Varimos, your second software product?”

Dr. Paul F. Filz: “I went to a conference where I attended a lecture about the systematic establishment and optimization of the process parameters for injection molding machines. There I noticed that, by setting the process parameters, it is only possible to optimize what the already existing mold permits. Everything else can only be changed subsequently by making expensive tool modifications. That got me thinking that it may be possible to perform systematic and automatic optimization in advance using simulation, giving you significantly more ways of influencing the process: in the simulation the mold geometry and technical options offered by the machine can be modified at the press of a button. In real life that would be incredibly laborious and expensive.

Back then, the engineering company Dr. Gierth Ing.-GmbH had already released the software CQC, with which it was possible to perform systematic setup and optimization of the process parameters for injection molding machines. Our software was able to simulatively perform injection molding production and measurement of sample parts as virtual machines. All we needed to do then was figure out how best we could combine the two software tools. An international research project, funded by the EU named VIM (Virtual Injection Molding), led us to a potential solution, and this research project resulted in the original version of the Varimos software package.”

Question: “You regularly release updates to improve the functionality of Simcon software. How do you go about identifying the needs that are called for in practice, before you release the updates?”

Dr. Paul F. Filz: On the one hand, we consult closely with our customers as well as getting input from our sales department, and on the other hand we talk to our application engineers, who use the software every day. Then there are the aspects that we want to implement ourselves. In addition to this, we receive requests from customers for special applications that they want to solve using simulation almost every day. Our support team can often help right away, but if not, the frequently requested solutions find their way into a subsequent update.

Question: “Does Simcon have an internal ranking of what can be implemented in the relatively near future or what is too specific for it to be a solution for the standard software?”

Ines Filz: “We have developed a very sophisticated system. An internal process is used to rank all of the requests and requirements for each update and divide them into subtasks. Our product manager controls this process in minute detail. Then we implement the improvements and new features, starting with those with the greatest customer benefit, in a release in cooperation with the product manager and the sales department. This is a time-consuming process that we repeat every eight weeks. There is always a certain degree of residual risk, as we don’t exactly know in advance whether the market will accept the new features as originally hoped.”

Question: “How do you see the future of simulation? What is your vision?”

Dr. Paul F. Filz: “We see the focus as being on intelligent automation. No longer will software just be a tool for the user, with which he still has to decide for himself, in the end, whether it would be better to do something in one way or another. In future, software will instead be an intelligent assistant for the user, which can, for example, define operating windows independently, check limits and ultimately find the optimum outcome independently. It is basically like autonomous driving: you enter a destination and the system gets you there.”

 

 

Chinaplas in Shanghai - Full success

CHINAPLAS IN SHANGHAI - FULL SUCCESS With more than 150,000 visitors, Chinaplas is the largest plastics and rubber trade fair in Asia and the second largest in the world. The vast number of interested visitors was clearly noticeable for our team. The days of the trade fair have just flown by and our team have had their hands full. Extremely good feedback was given from the visitors for the first Chinese-language version of Cadmould® and the intuitive interface so that many follow-up appointments were agreed upon. We are very pleased about the great interest and will certainly be back next year. A big THANKS to our reseller IKP TPA TechpolyAsia CO. and to the organizers of Chinaplas

 

 

We`ve got it covered

Our kick-off in the USA

This year‘s NPE motto "We've got it covered" hit the nail on the head: With 2,000+ exhibitors from all relevant industries, 11 technology zones, nearly 1,000,000 ft² and more than 65,000 visitors, the plastic show was a great success.
At cosy ~90°F outside temperature and frosty cooled exhibition halls prospects from all over the world visited us to learn more about Simcon‘s simulation software products. With contacts from North, Central and South America to Africa and India, the fair was a real highlight in terms of internationality.
For Simcon, the launch on the American market was more than successful and the response impressive.
We were excellently supported by our Mexican partner Victor Vasquez and his daughter Marilu Vasquez from CPM.

 

 

Tips + Tricks

The installed versions of Cadmould® 3D-F are listed in the “Programs and licenses” tab. 
 

At this point, there is an option of individually configur-ing the license file to be used for the program start by choosing the “Select” button for every Cadmould® 3D-F version that has been identified. In addition, the update status and license path of a Cadmould® 3D-F installation can be reset by right-clicking on the corresponding pro-gram version.
In addition, the available module configurations and dongle that are appropriate for the relevant license file can be displayed and selected for starting the program in the “Details” column via the “view” button. The list of module and dongle configurations can be updated by right-clicking in this view, or the selection can be reset.

Events and Trade Show

20.-24.02.2018 METAV, Hall 15, Stand 15B83, Düsseldorf, Germany
05.-07.06.2018 KUTENO, Kunststofftechnik Nord, Stand D15, Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Germany