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Moldflow has built a leading reputation, bolstered by the acquisition of competitor C-Mold in April 2000, for tools to optimise the design and manufacture of plastic moulded parts.
Manufacturing tools target the problems associated with production planning and scheduling, machine set-up and process optimisation, monitoring and reporting.
Design optimisation tools fall into two product families; Moldflow Plastics Insight (MPI) for in-depth simulations and Moldflow Plastics Advisors (MPA) for design-centric analysis.
The comprehensive MPI range incorporates thermoplastic and reactive moulding processes including gas, co-injection, fibre orientation and microchip encapsulation modules based principally on mid-plane mesh analysis and more limited direct support for 3D models to handle difficult geometry and avoid the need to create a mid-plane model.
This level of detail is most appropriate to toolmakers and moulders and is often not necessary during the design of the majority of components so the Plastics Advisers range aims to deliver ease of use, accessibility and CAD integration for rapid analysis of components early during the design cycle.
Despite the reduced level of sophistication, MPA's Part Adviser and Mold Advisor products enable significant optimisation when the cost of change is minimal before the tool is cut, increasing the chance of higher quality parts, minimising rejects and reducing time to market.
MPA is recommended for generally thin wall parts where the thickness < ¼ average length and width of any local section.
Should limitations be encountered or further analysis required, MPA set-ups can be transferred directly into MPI although material information is not transferred.
MPA can be run as a standalone application or as an add-in for popular solid modellers.
Models in .stl format can be opened as standard, but the separately licensable Moldflow Design Link (MDL) now in version 3 allows STEP, IGES, Parasolid and Pro/E files to also be opened.