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Injection Molding Simulation with Moldflow Based on a Simplified Mesh Model

Shumin Feng, Li Wei

Injection Molding Simulation with Moldflow Based on a Simplified Mesh


Model
1,*2

Shumin Feng, 3Li Wei


School of Mechanical Engineering, Shanghai Institute of
Technology, Shanghai, China, fengsm71@sit.edu.cn
3
School of Mechanical Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China,
weili @hit.edu.cn
1,*2 First Author,Corresponding Author

Abstract
Moldflow has been used extensively in Injection Molding Simulation (IMS), however the mesh
preparation time has been unacceptably long in the current development. In this study, we propose a
simplified mesh model for Moldflow to improve the computation efficiency without compromising the
original results. A laptop front cover is modelled and tested to evaluate the influence of simplified mesh
model on the IMS of flowing, cooling, and shrinkage respectively. Simulation results show that, the
mesh preparation time and computation time can be reduced by 70% and 50% respectively without
changing the original interpretation of IMS, and some minus geometrical features such as short shot,
air trap and weld lines are ignorable. In this way, the whole development cycle of injection mold can
be greatly shortened.

Key words: Injection Molding Simulation; Model Simplification; Mesh; Moldflow


1. Introduction
In the current injection mold manufacturing, computer simulation is usually used for analysising and
optimizing the injection molding process. It can speed up the product development cycle of injection
mold , reduce the cost of mold development, optimize of injection molding process parameters,
improve market rapid response capability and competitiveness of the injection molding. Among the
several commercialized Injection Mold Simulation (IMS) software, Moldflow is the most popular one
and has been used and tested extensively[1,2]. However, when Moldflow is simulating injection molds
with complicated geometric shapes, the time required for mesh model preparation is too long to be
satisfied, Moldflow effectively shorten the development cycle advantage is difficult to play very well.
Since the mesh grid model modification has taken a serious part of the total development cycle, the
time left for result analysis and process optimization is rather limited. Besides, the number of units and
nodes within the mesh grid of the mold with complicated shape is directly proportionate to the
computation time required, and therefore, the complexity of the mesh model in Moldflow has limited
its efficiency considerably.
In order to solve this problem, this paper proposes a simplified mesh model for Moldflow to reduce
the computation time. This mesh model is tested with the simulation of a laptop front cover in
Moldflow, and the output results such as flowing, cooling and shrinkage are compared with the original
model. It is shown that, the proposed simplified model can help to improve the computation efficiency
and optimization of Moldflow in the application of injection mold development and manufacturing,
and it provides a reference for the model simplification and optimization in the future IMS with
Moldflow [3,4].

2. The simplification of geometrical model


The front cover of a laptop geometry based on the characteristics of the main plate and border
mainly consist of the cover frame, attached with many small and complicated sized features. However,
in the simulation with Moldflow, if all the geometric features are taken into account by the constructed
mesh model, several problems will be caused, such as,

Journal of Convergence Information Technology(JCIT)


Volume8, Number11, June 2013
doi:10.4156/jcit.vol8.issue11.68

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Injection Molding Simulation with Moldflow Based on a Simplified Mesh Model


Shumin Feng, Li Wei

(1) If the mesh size is determined based on the main cover, it will be too big to represent correctly
the small-size geometrical features in the mesh model.
(2) If the mesh size is set based on the small size features, it will be too small, the more number of
nodes will be generated, resulting in longer mesh preparation time and simulation time.
(3) Since the geometrical features on the front cover model differ a lot in size and they are in a
plurality of different orders of magnitude, it is difficult to guarantee each of the features can be
represented precisely in the mesh model. Therefore, it requires considerable amount of time to do the
mesh preparation before it can be simulated with Moldflow[5].
For the convenience of comparison, we prepare two set of different mesh models, one of which
includes all the geometrical features, the other contains only the bigger size features and the smaller
ones are ignored, Figure 1 shows the difference between the two models. It can be seen that, the overall
sizes of the mesh within two models are similar, however, model 1 needs much longer time to prepare
the mesh, considerably slowing down the whole simulation process[6,7,8].

(a) Mesh model 1

(b) Mesh model 2


Figure 1. The original mesh model and the proposed simplified mesh model.
Number of unitsnodes and matching rate of the two mesh models are listed in Table 1.
Table 1. The statistical comparison between the two mesh models.
number of units

number of nodes

matching rate

Model 1

14348

8141

81.3%

Model 2

9500

5716

85.2%

RatioModel 2/ Model 1

66%

70%

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Injection Molding Simulation with Moldflow Based on a Simplified Mesh Model


Shumin Feng, Li Wei

From the analysis we can see that, the numbers of units and nodes of model 2 are only 66% and
70% of model 2 respectively. Furthermore, the matching rate of units within model 2 is clearly better
than model 1. All these parameters can be optimized so that the simulation can be a better
approximation to the reality[9].

3. Comparison of the results of flow simulation analysis


In the simulation of this study, the two mesh models are tested with Moldflow MPI 6.1 on the
flowing, cooling and shrinkage calculations, and unless it is specified, all other conditions of the testing
are the same with the two models. First discuss the results of the flowing analysis.
Figure 2 shows the simulation results of pressure distribution of cavity when it is being transferred
from velocity control to pressure control (Pressure at V/P Switchover). Comparing with model 1, the
corresponding maximum pressure of model 2 is reduced by 16%, and the main reason can be found
from the corresponding flow front temperature distribution of material.

(a) The cavity Pressure distribution at V/P Switchover of Model 1

(b) The cavity Pressure distribution at V/P Switchover of Model


Figure 2. The cavity pressure comparison of the two models during Velocity/Pressure transferring.

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Injection Molding Simulation with Moldflow Based on a Simplified Mesh Model


Shumin Feng, Li Wei

From Figure 3 (a) and (b) we can see that, the lower bound of the flow front material temperature of
model 2 is 42higher than model 1. However, if the upper bound and the lower bound of the flow front
material temperature of model 1 are set to be the same as model 2, their temperature distributions will
be very similar, as shown in Figure 3 (b) and (c). Further monitoring the flow front temperature
distribution of model 1, it is found that only the temperature of the ignored small size features has a
remarkable decrease, as shown in the magnified part of Figure 3 (c). The fall in material temperature
would increase the stickiness of the molten material, and it will require bigger pressure to continue
filling up the cavity. Since most of the small-size geometrical features appear at the end of the flow
path, when the pressure and velocity transfer takes place, it results in an obvious difference in the
maximum filling pressure between the two models[10].
It can be seen that, for the common part of the two models, the distribution results of pressure and
temperature are similar if the small-size geometrical features are ignored. Since most of the ignored
features are at the end of the flow path, the problems like insufficient fill and air cavity may not be
predicted, especially when the flow front temperature is approaching the transferring temperature.
Based on the above analysis, other flow analysis results from the two models can be explained in the
same way. Examples like this can be seen from the solidification layer fraction distribution when the
filling is finished. For model 1, the solidification layer distribution range is [0.0, 0.28], while for model
2, the range is [0.0, 0.06]. If the result from the model 1 is scaled to the range of model 2, it is found
that the two model have very similar solidification layer fraction distributions. Model 1 has a relatively
wider solidification layer distribution than model 2 only at the ignored small-size geometrical features,
but this difference of the two models does not affect the overall understanding for the simulation
resultsexcept impacting such as insufficient filling flow analysis[11,12]

(a) The flow front material temperature of model 1

(b) The flow front material temperature of model 2

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Injection Molding Simulation with Moldflow Based on a Simplified Mesh Model


Shumin Feng, Li Wei

(c) The flow front material temperature distribution of model 1 after adjusting the ratio
Figure 3. The flow front steam temperature comparison of the two models.

4. Comparison of the results of cooling simulation analysis


Figure 4 shows the simulation result of the maximum temperature distribution for the injection mold
based on the two models respectively.
The simulation results show that the simplification of the above model has almost no influence on
the analysis of cooling. It can be seen that, the two models can lead to very similar temperature
distributionupper and lower bounds of the temperature. Similar conclusion can be drawn for other
cooling analysis results, such as cooling and solidification time, the temperature distribution in the
direction of thickness of plastic parts. We can infer from the above that simplification of the model
doesn't affect the correct understanding of the cooling analysis results[13,14].

aTemperature distribution of model 1

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Injection Molding Simulation with Moldflow Based on a Simplified Mesh Model


Shumin Feng, Li Wei

bTemperature distribution of model 2


Figure 4. The comparison of temperature simulation for the two models.

5. Comparison of the results of shrinkage simulation analysis


In the simulation of this study, the total shrinkage of the laptop front cover is also analyzed based on
the two models. Figure 5 shows the comparison of the two models on shrinkage deformation resulted
by the combination of uneven contraction, uneven cooling, and material orientation effect along the
three axes of the Cartesian coordinate[15,16].
It can be seen that, the shrinkage deformation range, direction and distribution of the simplified
model are very close to the original model, even the deformation caused by model 2 appears to be
wider. This is because in the original model, all the small-size geometrical features distributed around
the frame of the injection mold are taken into account, and they increase the resistance of deformation.

aShrinkage deformation of model 1

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Injection Molding Simulation with Moldflow Based on a Simplified Mesh Model


Shumin Feng, Li Wei

(b) Shrinkage deformation of model 2


Figure 5. The comparison of overall deformation simulation for the two models with the
magnification of 5.
From the simulation comparison we can see that, the shrinkage deformation along each axis of the
Cartesian coordinate and the deformation caused by uneven contraction, uneven cooling, and
orientation effect are very similar, and they both lead to excellent approximation for the deformation of
real injection mold. Therefore, the simplification of mesh model in Moldflow does not influence the
result of the shrinkage deformation simulation, but the computation efficiency can be greatly increased.

6. Conclusion
In this paper, a simplified mesh model for Moldflow was proposed to speed up the simulation
process and shorten the development cycle of injection mold. In the simulation, a simplified model of a
laptop front cover in Moldflow is tested and compared with the original model. Flowing, cooling and
shrinkage simulation results are analyzed and comparedIt is shown that
1Many small and complicated sized geometrical features lying on the different order of
magnitude with body characterized of the cover can be ignored when carrying out the IMS with
Moldflow without compromising the simulation correctness. This can greatly shorten the model
preparation time and analysis calculated timeFor analysis example of a laptop front cover in this
paperthe computation time can be reduced by 50%.
2If the ignored geometrical features are distributed at the end of the flow path, and the material
temperature of the end of flowing path decreases dramatically and approaches the transfer temperature,
the cavity filling may not be adequate, and the air cavity and weld line positions cannot be predicted.
3However, if the exterior conditions of the model are required strictly to be the same as the
original model, these small-size features can be maintainedotherwise it is impossible to predict the
air cavityweld line position of these geometric features.

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Injection Molding Simulation with Moldflow Based on a Simplified Mesh Model


Shumin Feng, Li Wei

Acknowledgment
This work was financionly supported by Shanghai Leading Academic Discipline Project (Project
NO. J51501).

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