Advanced Simulation Solutions for Plastic Manufacturers — Insights into Molding and Part Properties

Industry Challenges

Plastics are a broad range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids molded or transformed into a number of products useful in everyday life. These products can vary from toys, consumer electronics, packing, house goods, and personal care to automotive components. Thanks to their ease of production, low cost, and abundance of raw materials, plastics have been used as alternatives for various traditional materials such as woods, metal, paper, and glass in the majority of their uses. However, with the increasing diversification of the applications of plastics, the complexity of the techniques used for processing has also increased. This gives rise to a persistent need for material suppliers to constantly improve their formulation to endure the processing conditions and to fulfill the needed properties of the end products.

How Can Moldex3D Help Material Suppliers?

Materials suppliers are in constant need of creating innovative, cutting-edge technological materials and transforming the existing ones to be able to meet the demands of rapidly changing markets. However, prior to selling the innovative materials to product manufacturers, materials suppliers must ensure that their materials pass extreme processing conditions as well as possess the needed properties such as durability, impact and chemical resistances, and so on after they are molded into products. Hence, to remain competitive, material suppliers will have to investigate innovative processing technologies and their raw materials thoroughly by performing actual molding trails to be able to better serve their downstream customers.

Moldex3D solutions are designed such that material suppliers can analyze their materials by simulating and verifying complex processes using a true 3D technology. Moldex3D offers sophisticated simulation solutions that can provide material suppliers an understanding of the way the molding properties and/or final part properties of materials change upon modifying the formulation of materials. Moreover, Moldex3D has its own Material Research Center that can offer comprehensive material data service to any users including material suppliers intending to gain insights into the material formulations and its impact on molding behaviors.

Moldex3D Solves Tough Problems

Thermoplastics

Challenges and Solutions

The mechanical properties of plastics are governed by the molecular weight of polymer. Heavier molecular weight leads to increased chain entanglements, and consequently, higher mechanical properties. Yet, it also has an impact on the processability of plastics during molding since there is an increase in viscosity, leading to challenges in completely filling out the mold. The mechanical properties of the plastics level off once the molecular weight reaches specific threshold values. Hence, it is extremely important to find the precise molecular weight range of polymers that will produce the desirable mechanical properties, while remaining processable.

Moldex3D offers accurate material data to help find out the filling behavior of plastics at the time of molding so that material suppliers can look for ways to improve their formulation. Moreover, various additives like heat stabilizers, plasticizers, light stabilizers, coloring agents, reinforcements, flame retardants, etc. also have an impact on its molding properties and final product performance. For instance, coloring agents are known to have evident effects on the molding behaviors of plastics and also flow-induced aesthetic problems like tiger strip. The instant simulation feedback offered by novel Moldex3D simulation tools empowers material suppliers to make crucial decisions on improving the formulations of their materials.

Thermoset Plastics

Challenges and Solutions

Thermoset is differentiated from thermoplastics by the hardening, or curing, of materials under heat environment, and in fact, it is impossible to reprocess thermoset materials. Due to the fact that thermoset materials harden under heat environment, the flow behavior will also be modified at the time of molding. Hence, it is necessary for materials suppliers to improve their design formulations to strike the right balance between curing kinetics and viscosity change as this will have an impact on the processability and the cycle time.

In the case of thermoset materials, Moldex3D can offer effective and efficient cost-saving simulation solutions to materials suppliers by verifying the flow behavior (curing time and viscosity change) such that it would be possible to optimize formulations. Moreover, effects like curing-induced volumetric shrinkage can be quantified by means of material characterizations, and material suppliers can use this knowledge to modify chemical formulation and use it in simulation to optimize product design and process conditions.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Moldex3D.

For more information on this source, please visit Moldex3D.

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