The Simpoe technology for plastic injection simulation was originally available to use in 1995. It originated in Taiwan and was used primarily in that general region. The injection molded plastic simulation program was originally created as a standalone solution but was made available as an embedded software solution for various CAD programs. The SolidWorks community in braced the Simpoe add-in as an injection molded plastic simulation application. In February of 2012, SolidWorks adopted two of the four levels that were available in the stand-alone product. SolidWorks chose to call their product SolidWorks Plastics. In 2013 Dassault Systèmes acquired Simpoe and fully implemented the Simpoe capability in SolidWorks Plastics. The Simpoe technology was introduced in 2015 as an addition to the CATIA role for designing plastic parts called Functional Plastic Part (FPP). In this application only the filling portion of Simpoe was used. The 2016 the first SIMULIA 3DEXPERIENCE offering was introduced and is known as Injection Plastic Part Engineer (INK). This added a much needed plastics filling analysis to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
Currently in INK the user can get a clear understanding of how a design part will function during the injection molding process using a thermoplastic material, even fiber-filled plastic. This package will capture everything that happens within the mold from mold close to mold open and part ejection. It will answer the very basic questions such as: Will my part fill? Will there be air traps? Where will my knit lines be? How much pressure is required to fill the part? And approximately how soon will cool to the point that I can eject the part? INK assumes uniform mold cooling so the designer does not need to worry about the placement of cooling lines. The meshing is automatic and selection of gate location is as simple as pointing to a location on your molded surface. An extensive database of plastic materials is included which contains the rheological data necessary for the completion of this analysis providing the designer an accurate prediction of their design parts functionality during the injection molding process. The designer can also have a better understanding of the packing process to understand how uniformly they filled the part to minimize localized shrinkage and sink marks by adjusting the gate sizes and location. The designer can also see the pressure created throughout the part, shear stresses, shear heating, and the effects of multiple gate injection. With the information given by INK the user can obtain a reasonable prediction of the cycle time as well as see the effects of their part design on the mold-ability of their part.
In 2017 the Plastic Injection Mold Engineer (IME) role was added to the platform. IME contains all the functionality of INK but adds to it the cooling analysis where the designer determines where the cooling channel should be to achieve realistic predictions of the temperature of the molded surface. This information is necessary to provide a more accurate analysis of part filling and cooling. With these results the designer can understand the residual stresses that occur at the time of part ejection from the mold as well as those stresses that remain after the part has been ejected from the mold and cooled to room temperature. This is important because the variations in temperature will affect the rate of flow of the plastic during the filling process and could affect the rate of cooling in the hotter regions of the mold. The INK application requires only one part body but in the IME application, many bodies can be present. These bodies would represent the modeled cooling channels and the virtual mold representation. The IME application will provide a more accurate prediction of the filling analysis than the INK application because of the prediction of the actual temperature of the molding surface.
The positioning of the INK application is best suited for the early stages of part design while the IME application would be necessary for advanced or final part design and mold design. Both applications can provide injection molding setup guidance with the IME providing a more accurate prediction because of the cooling calculation.
Improvements to both products are in the development stage so watch for those enhancements as they are released.
By Duane Sawyer