Simulating the process of injection molding a plastic part is easy with SOLIDWORKS Plastics, crazy easy in fact. Here is a run-down of the simple steps you’ll follow to get started.
Step 1: Create a 3D model, which you were going to do anyways. SOLIDWORKS has powerful tools for creating intricate geometry and validating the design for manufacturability. Analysis tools measure draft angles, wall thickness, undercut, even automatically finding and creating the parting line and the parting surfaces. Powerful mold design tools make it easy to build mold geometry but that won’t be necessary to get started with Plastics.
Step 2: Show the Plastics tab and create a Solid or Surface mesh. Tip: Use Solid mesh when the thickness varies widely or when accuracy is important, use a surface mesh for faster results and especially for parts with uniform wall thickness. Automatic mode will give you a good starting mesh, and manual mode will allow for simple refinement and feedback on mesh quality.
Step 3: Choose your polymer; thousands of material models come preloaded and are organized by material type and supplier, but you can modify or enter new data to suit your specific needs or choose a generic material if the final formula is TBD.
Step 4: Set the injection location. Again, an automatic option makes this one-click simple, but you will want to make sure the injection location is on a parting line or a hidden face to keep the visible geometry clean and smooth. Flow pattern prediction gives you a quick check to make sure you’re choosing a location that will give appropriate results.
Step 5: Solve it! Double click the Flow icon to see the part fill before your eyes. Results are displayed as the part fills so you can monitor progress. The Results Adviser gives you a summary of the results when the solution is done.
Plastics operates inside the SOLIDWORKS user interface as a native program so you can quickly adjust the design and verify the fill without swapping windows or transferring files. Although Plastics will automate the process parameters for injection molding based on manufacturer recommendations and industry best practices, it can be completely customized and adjusted to accommodate the most challenging real-world scenarios. From a simple check for short-shots to a final check for residual stresses or measuring directional warp, SOLIDWORKS Plastics is a powerful tool to improve manufacturability and predict the outcome of an injection molded part design.