If you design injection molded plastic parts you may be familiar with terms such as short shots, sink marks, weld lines and dieseling. If any of those terms make you cringe, it may be time to look into better ways to identify these problems earlier on in the design process and eliminate them for good!
Molds used to make plastic injection molded parts are very expensive, often times in the $50,000 – $100,000+ range. When you know this it’s easy to see that missing a small problem during the design phase can be very expensive to fix later on once the mold is made. If part designers and engineers can identify potential injection molding problems early in the design process, before a mold is created, the company can save thousands of dollars very easily.
There are several software packages out there that will help a designer or engineer determine when short shots will occur, where sink marks and weld lines show up in the final part, and where air traps cause voids or dieseling. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when using many of these software packages is that they do not work natively inside of the CAD package used to design the part. When an analysis tool is not integrated into the CAD tool, time and effort is wasted going back and forth between systems.
For those designers or engineers already using SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, there is a great tool integrated inside of SOLIDWORKS called SOLIDWORKS Plastics. SOLIDWORKS Plastics allows a designer or engineer to run plastic injection molding analysis on a part as its being designed. The benefit this has to the user is that they can come up with a design using SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, then simply switch tabs inside the SOLIDWORKS User Interface and be ready to run a SOLIDWORKS Plastics analysis immediately. If a problem area is identified through the SOLIDWORKS Plastics analysis, the user can simply switch back to the 3D modeling tab and make a design change. Because SOLIDWORKS Plastics is fully integrated inside of SOLIDWORKS, the SOLIDWORKS Plastics analysis updates with the model changes automatically, and all the user has to do is run the analysis a second time, no further setup is necessary because it was already setup once.
SOLIDWORKS Plastics also has the benefit of using Configuration Integration. What this means is for those users who work with configurations inside of SOLIDWORKS, you can setup a SOLIDWORKS Plastics analysis to batch run multiple studies, testing out several design options at the same time. This prevents a user from needing to monitor the machine running the analysis to wait for it to finish before starting the next analysis. They can simply click run all studies, walk away from the machine and come back when all of the studies are all finished solving.
All in all there are several options out there to help plastic injection molded part designers determine where problem areas may occur in their designs before molds are made, saving tons of money in the process. For those users of SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, there is no better choice than SOLIDWORKS Plastics to save the most time and effort to get the job done faster and easier. If you would like to see SOLIDWORKS Plastics in action, please tune into our webinar later this month to see how it can really make a difference in your design process.