Moldex3D hopes to present the progress of the injection-molding industry toward Industry 4.0 in a series. This article covers the development of CAE simulation technology, which is more applicable to process improvement. Production management automation will be introduced in other subsequent articles.
Introduction to Industry 4.0
“Information” is the key character in the journey to Industry 4.0. For the injection-molding process, the information covers materials, equipment, process conditions, and product quality. Information is obtained from “data”, and information can be verified into “knowledge”, which is the central power of technology development. Therefore, Industry 4.0 can be defined as the process of continued integration and enforcement of information, data, and knowledge.
In the conventional plastic engineering sector, the process conditions, product, and mold designs depend on transmission of experience. Most of the information gathered from factories comes without complete database and could not be converted into knowledge. In the Industry 4.0 age, the chief goals of the plastics sector are to gather detailed data, produce knowledge, and automate information delivery with the aid of computer-aided calculations.
Then, in what way is data shifted from the real physical environment (for example, the data collected from sensors) into computable concepts? Dr. Jay Lee, Director of Intelligent Maintenance System Center, National Science Foundation as well as the consultant of Moldex3D’s manufacturing and service innovation, states that the theory of Cyber-Physical System is, “to capture, save, build models of, analyze, mine, evaluate, predict, optimize and collaborate big data from the physical space, items, environment, and activities, and integrate with the design, test, features, and performance of the items for profound integration with physical space. Comprehensive smart industrial asset is then further promoted by self-perception, self-memorization, self-awareness, and self-decision.”
Latest Injection Molding Processes
“Mold filling analysis” is the way to demonstrate real processing environments via virtual models applied in the injection-molding process. It has the ability to transfer real space into a virtual environment where one can solve glitches using knowledge. In the process of designing finite element analysis systems, the real items comprise of mold, mold cavities, and the boundary range constructed by mesh. The examination of physical field is deduced using fluid mechanics equations.
The way to examine the items and plastic materials is to convey their fluid and thermal properties into material equations. The processing machine movement is shifted onto the temperature, pressure, and speed that are imposed on materials. All of the elements in injection molding stated above have been conveyed into virtual systems, wherein the product efficiency and production quality can be measured for the production management in the real world.
The technology development of incorporating virtual and real world is based on two aspects: the reality of model building and data analysis technology in virtual space. These are what developers of the simulation software continue to aim for. With regard to the Moldex3D development, the advancement of material equations is continually the key mission of Moldex3D Material Research Center. For instance, material viscoelasticity characterization and the correspondent viscoelasticity coupling solver in Moldex3D software are the latest technologies that optimize the conventional viscosity equation to predict flow behaviors.
Therefore, you can now efficiently predict various surface defects under unbalanced flow behaviors at the preliminary stages. If the viscoelasticity prediction capability is expanded to warp analysis, it would be possible to observe how the stress caused by in-mold shrinkage varies with the variation in the length of cooling time. Thus, the product warpage analysis will be closer to the real-world results under various processing conditions.
Another significant development in the last few years is the model building of injection-molding machine movement. In a conservative simulation, the screw movement is shifted into the speed and pressure enforced on the melt. Like this, the melt flow behavior is oversimplified. For instance, consider a hydraulic press with a closed loop circuit. At the actual injection stage, the machine compares the measured speed and the injection speed input by the molders to choose the screw movement. The screw movement speed will be decreased or increased by the proportional valve that is tuned by the controller.
The reaction speed of this closed-loop circuit is the main factor of the machine’s production strength. With weak product design or huge injection pressure changes, it will require a longer time to steady the control of the closed-loop circuit reaction. In the Industry 4.0 setting, production stability is the essential condition of automation. Thus, the model building of machine movement in simulation is especially important.
Going forward, Moldex3D will introduce various solutions from injection machine suppliers to help customers cultivate competitiveness in the journey to Industry 4.0.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Moldex3D.
For more information on this source, please visit Moldex3D.