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What is SOLIDCast®?
SOLIDCast® is the world’s best-selling casting process modeling software from Finite Solutions, Inc. This package, formerly sold as AFSolid 2000, is now in use in more than 400 companies and schools in over 40 countries around the world. SOLIDCast® is a PC-based software tool that simulates the pouring of hot metal of virtually any casting alloy into sand, shell, investment or permanent molds, and the subsequent solidification and cooling process.
What makes SOLIDCast® Work?
SOLIDCast® uses the Finite Difference Method(FDM) of heat transfer calculation, combined with a unique tracking of volumetric changes in the metal, to predict the temperature and volume changes in a casting as it is poured, solidified and cooled. This combined thermal-volumetric approach has proven to be an extremely accurate method of predicting various casting problems, including micro- and macro-porosity, hot spots and other defects.
What is Casting Process Modeling?
Casting Process Modeling is a mathematical way to let the computer predict(simulate) what will happen when a casting is poured on the shop floor. Virtually anything that can be modified in the foundry can be simulated using Casting Process Modeling. Simulation allows you to fine tune your casting process in much less time, and without the waste of expensive materials, than shop floor trials.
What are the benefits? • • • • • • Shorten Lead Times Help Solve Problems Optimize Existing Jobs Train Employees Improve Customer Relations Attract More Jobs Through Improved Market Image .
how does Casting Process Modeling work? • • • • • Select Materials and Properties Build Casting/Mold Model Mesh Model/Run Simulation Evaluate Results Modify and Re-simulate .So.
as well as all mold materials. SOLIDCast® contains databases with over 230 casting alloys in all the major groups. You can also use chills. exothermics and cooling/heating channels in permanent mold dies.Select Materials and Properties The first step in modeling is to select the materials that will be used in the simulation. plus data on all common mold materials. . insulation. This includes the casting alloy.
Select Materials and Properties • Properties That Control Heat Flow in a Mold Material – – – – Thermal Conductivity Specific Heat Density Initial Temperature(s) .
You can add. All common molding sands are included. modify or remove materials at any time. plus insulating and exothermic materials.This screen capture of the Mold Tab shows typical properties for a cast iron chill. .
Select Materials and Properties • Casting Alloys Also Require – – – – – Solidification Temperature Freezing Range Latent Heat of Fusion Solidification Curve Volumetric Change(Shrinkage) Curve .
. since the casting alloy will change from a liquid to a solid during the simulation.The Casting Tab has additional data.
. These can be modified by the user.The Solidification and Shrinkage curves define the freezing behavior for each casting alloy. and cast iron curves can be developed based on chemistry and molding method.
Select Materials and Properties • Heat Transfer Coefficients Control Heat Flow Between Materials – – – – Mold Coatings Air Gaps Cooling Channels Convection/Radiation .
to show radiation effects from the hot shell. . They are most often used in permanent mold casting. and in investment casting.Heat Transfer Coefficients(HTCs) are used to define how heat flows across surfaces. to show coating effects.
The top pictures show 2 investment casting models… …The bottom pictures show the radiation ‘view factors’ .
you need to build the casting/mold geometry. . there are many time saving ways of building models. This step is the most user-intensive part of the process. as you will see. but.Build Casting/Mold Model Once you’ve created a “Materials List”. which tells the system what materials will be used in your simulation.
Drawing.Model Building Techniques • Direct import of 3D CAD data • Import of 2D CAD data > 3D • Blueprints – Digitizing – Shapes. 2D CAD .
chills. cores) Binary smaller than ASCII .3D STL File Import • • • • Most CAD systems have it Triangles cover the part surface One file for each material(casting.
. one for the casting.This model of a cylinder head was created using 4 STL files. two for core assemblies and one for the sleeves.
2D DXF File Import • • • • • Every CAD system has it Auto-trace utility can extract cross-sections Extrude. but can be corrected . rotate or blend sections to create 3D Exact data as created by CAD operator Drawings may have problems.
Sections from the CAD file were extruded. rotated and blended to create 3D geometry.The 2D DXF file shown above became the 3D solid shown at the right. .
but simulation results are the same .Digitizing • • • • Fast input Multiple scales are ok Hardware is inexpensive CAD looks better.Working With Blueprints .
such as the investment cast valve bodies shown at the right. you can trace 2D sections that will be rotated. extruded or blended into 3D models. .With a digitizing tablet and a blueprint.
Drawing. 2D CAD • • • • Requires greatest time and operator effort Good for gating/risering systems Doesn’t require other software Works best when all dimensions are listed .Working With Blueprints Shapes.
000 per year on this part alone! (Note that the die pieces have been removed for clarity.) .This aluminum permanent mold casting took over a day to build. using only a blueprint and 2D CAD. However. the improvements made due to simulation saved the foundry over $700.
all of which are shaped like cubes. called nodes. The meshed model is like a big series of Lego bricks.Run Simulation Once you have the “Materials List” and the casting geometry. Each node has different material properties. over and over. A meshed model may have millions of cubes. as defined in your materials list. and the heat transfer equations are applied to each cube. you can put the two together in a process called Meshing. . The meshed model is a series of cubes.
including insulating and exothermic sleeves and chills.This pictures shows a meshed model of casting plus risers. . The number of cubes used in a mesh is limited only by available memory.
This picture shows the mold cavity as it is being meshed. . This can be done automatically using SOLIDCast®.
so you can see hot and cold spots develop. Heat is being lost to the mold and surrounding air.During the mold Temperatures Duringfilling simulation. . Filling Sequence the relative temperatures are shown on the screen.
and temperatures can be seen in the cooling metal. . you can watch the progression of Temperatures Duringsolidification. Notice that volumetric feeding is calculated at the same time as temperature.After mold filling is complete. Gray areas show Solidification Sequence solidified metal.
Interpreting Results Once a simulation is complete. you can look at various pieces of data to decide whether you have made a good part or a bad one. . Since this decision may be based on different factors for each casting. SOLIDCast® provides many types of data for your use.
or as a single time plot •Time –Liquidus –Critical Fraction Solid –100% Solid –Local Solidification •Hot Spots (Isolations) –Based on CFS –Based on 100% Solid .What Data Can be Plotted? •Temperature During Fill and Solidification –Displayed during the simulation.
What Data Can be Plotted? •Temperature Gradient •Cooling Rate •Material Density •Criteria Functions –Niyama –FCC (Micro-porosity) –User Defined Functions .
How Can Data Be Plotted? •CastPic Plot –3D color plot at any orientation –Cut planes can be active •Iso-Surface Plot –Surface at a given value –Surrounds ‘worse’ values –Good for time or density plots •Cut-Plane Plot –2D slice from the 3D model –Good detail. plus individual data •CastScan Movies –Color plot on a transparent casting –Progressive or rotating .
The casting has been cut in half so you can see what is happening internally. .Progressive Solidification Critical Fraction Solid Time Range (CastPic Plot) This CastPic plot show the progression of Critical Fraction Solid (CFS) Time on a valve body casting.
.This screen is an iso-surface plot of the FCC Criterion. Notice that the tendency towards shrinkage varies depending on position in the mold. used to predict microporosity in castings.
You can drag the cut plane through the model. which shows when feeding ends. and a 2D plot will be created instantly.This is a Cut Plane Plot. . This plot also shows CFS Time.
These movies are saved in the Windows standard AVI format. without any extra hardware or software. The next screen shows samples from a movie.Movies – Animating your plots Each of the plot types can also be created in a movie format. . so you can send copies to your customers and they can run them on any Windows PC. You can control the number of frames. how fast the movie runs. and the range of data displayed.
When you do. Once you have evaluated results. you can… • Change Geometry • Change Process Parameters • Change Rigging .Modify Model and Re-simulate Simulation is an iterative process. you have a number of options available. most often you will find something that needs improvement. For example. anything that can be changed on the shop floor can be simulated to a certain extent using SOLIDCast®. Basically.
Casting Examples • Aluminum Permanent Mold Automotive Part • Steel Sand Cast Elevator Part .
Aluminum • • • • High Volume Brake Component 7% Shrinkage Rejects on Machining Now <0.000/Year Savings .Permanent Mold .4% Rejects $700.
When this area was bored out. not the riser. .With the original gating. the last place to freeze was in the casting. the shrinkage was exposed and the casting was scrapped.
.By changing the riser shape and increasing the contact size. the last point to freeze was moved into the riser. and the casting is now shrink-free.
Steel • • • • • • Behind in delivery of new casting 9 risers but still had shrinkage 12 simulations with feedback 10 working days to complete job 5-6% yield improvement Better quality at a reduced cost .Sand Casting .
this casting was over-risered. . yet still had unacceptable shrinkage.Without simulation to show the hot spots.
resulting in higher yield AND higher quality. .Simulation pointed out where the real problems lay. allowing an intelligent risering scheme to be applied.