Ansys is committed to setting today's students up for success tomorrow, by providing free simulation engineering software licenses to students at all levels. Support your learning with free courses, our support community and a wealth of student-focused tutorials.
Used by millions around the world, students can take advantage of our free engineering software for homework, capstone projects and student competitions. Our renewable products can be downloaded at no cost by students across the globe and installed on any supported MS Windows 64-bit machine.
These free courses extend beyond physics theory and reinforce concepts with high-fidelity Ansys simulations and real-world case studies. Developed for students, the comprehensive educational experience features online lecture videos led by Ansys experts and key academic partners, handouts, homework, tutorials and quizzes.
The electronic simulation software by ANSYS known as ANSYS Electrical is very productive for designing PCB, ICs and electromechanical systems. A chip level optimization can be done with the help of ANSYS Integrated Circuit analysis software.
There's more. Part weight can be reduced up to 25 percent if blowing agents are used, because densities are equalized. There are no materials limitations. Reinforcements don't show up on the surfaces of filled or reinforced parts. Clamp tonnage can be reduced. GCP even improves the environment out in the shop, since air and decomposition gases displaced in the pressurized system can be vented outside. And imagine the freedom it provides in designing new parts, since designers don't have to engineer around normal molding problems with things like ribs and bosses.
In this bimonthly column, Glenn Beall of Glenn Beall Plastics Ltd., Libertyville, IL, shares his special perspective on issues important to design engineers and the molding industry.I had the good fortune to find a job in the plastics industry right out of college. I find it hard to believe, but that was 40 years ago. I can remember a time when there were no polycarbonates or ABS materials. In those days, everything was molded on plunger presses and Reed Prentice was king. I saw the introduction, initial rejection, and final acceptance of the in-line reciprocating screw. I made the mistake of buying one of the first CNC-controlled molding machines. That purchase put me in a position to help finance the rest of the development of that control package, while helping to train the machine manufacturer's customer service personnel. Learning about new technology has always been traumatic.Over the years, there have been many changes in the injection molding industry. In retrospect, an equal number of things has remained exactly the same. One of those contrasts is that there has always been a shortage of technically competent people to keep up with the growth of the plastics industry. Now in the late 1990s, we know much more about the injection molding process than ever before. The problem is that what has been learned is not being taught to the plant people who are in need of the information.The Problem of IncompetenceAs a case in point, on a recent plant tour, I was asked about a 16-cavity, edge-gated project that always produced parts with sink marks. A glance at the runner indicated the nozzle opening into the sprue was only about half what it should have been. Later I was shown parts that were warped because the cavity was gated in a thin section, with the melt flowing toward a thicker wall. Neither of these parts was properly designed, but the inadequate mold design made the problem worse. Errors of this type were common when the industry was new and learning by trial and error, so this situation hasn't changed; but with what is known today, mistakes of this type must be classified as gross incompetence.Education Isn't Free AnymoreAnother contrast is that molders have always been in favor of more training opportunities for plant personnel. They have always paid lip service to education but talk was, and is, about all they were willing to pay. There are exceptions, but there are not enough molders who "walk the talk."In the old days, everyone looked to the plastic material manufacturers to educate the processing industry. Their technical brochures and training seminars helped educate those who ran the molding plants in the rapid growth of the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. Regrettably, the material manufacturers have minimized their efforts in these areas as they downsize and concentrate on raising profit margins. The plastic material distributors are now trying to fill this void. Unfortunately, these smaller companies do not have the financial wherewithal of the larger chemical companies.Today there are more universities offering plastics technology curricula than ever before. These institutions of higher learning do not, however, cater to plant personnel. Many liberal arts and local colleges have started full- and part-time plastics programs to service the plastics industry in their local areas. We are just now seeing the emergence of "technical universities" whose orientation is to train manufacturing personnel. However, too many of these well-intentioned ventures have declined or have been discontinued.What went wrong with this concept that sounded so good in the beginning? What the educators heard was the plastics industry paying lip service to education. What they did not realize was that the processing industry would not support these activities on an ongoing basis. The plastics technology seminars that are now presented all across the country have become the "quick fix" for the industry. Yet seminars that are structured for plant personnel enjoy only average to poor attendance.What Molders Must DoIt only takes the hint of a recession to prove that the plastics processing industry will not support education. This is hard to understand, as people don't have time for training when they are running shorthanded, flat-out, around-the-clock, seven days a week. A slowdown is the best time to train and upgrade staff.Whether or not we have international customers, we are all working in a global economy. Right now, the United States is winning in the international productivity race, in spite of the fact that we are ranked 15th in the education and training of our work force. Even with NAFTA and the loss of injection molding projects to Asia, the United States has had seven years of steady economic growth. The unemployment rate is only 5.3 percent, the lowest in almost seven years. Every molder that I know complains about not being able to hire enough good operators to keep his machines running. Something has to change in order for the United States to survive and prosper in an increasingly competitive global economy.Robots, fully automatic closed loop molding, conveyorized materials handling, and all of the other high-tech approaches to molding minimize the need for skilled operators, but do not eliminate it. Getting all of this high-tech equipment up and running, and keeping it up, takes a high level of technical competence.The time has come for injection molders to recognize that they are going to have to start investing in their people, just the same as they now willingly invest in new equipment and buildings. There is no substitute for a well-trained work force.More and more injection molders are willingly - or reluctantly - becoming ISO certified. One of the basic premises of ISO certification is that a molder must be able to prove that he has well-trained staff members that understand why they are doing what they are doing, and how to do it.Progressive molders have already recognized this threat to their future profitability and have started to take action. Some larger molders now have in-plant training programs. They not only teach the basic skills of molding, setup, and quality control, but are of necessity forced to teach English, reading, writing, math, and basic work habits. Today, there are excellent video and interactive training programs that molders can use for in-plant technical training.In various locations around the country, smaller injection molders and other processors are banding together to establish training programs at local colleges, universities, and trade schools. These teaching institutions have the advantage of already having their basic courses, suchas English comprehension, math, blueprint reading, and so forth. The Plastics Institute at Northern Illinois University and the Behrend College Plastics Lab at Penn State University at Erie are just two examples of this type. But these programs will only work as long as the industry supports them in good times and bad.On a national level, the Society of the Plastics Industry is leading an effort toward certification of molding floor personnel, all the way from operators to setup and supervisory people. The requirements for certification will, in turn, establish benchmarks leading to a standardized curriculum for training plant personnel.A standardized curriculum will make it much easier to get a local school to teach what is needed. The certification program will make it easier for a molder to evaluate applicants before offering them a job.Put Up or Shut UpAll responsible injection molders have to be in favor of these SPI initiatives. If you are willing to "put your money where your mouth has always been," then call SPI's Drew Fleming at (202) 974-5246 and contribute to this program.If you can't afford a cash contribution, then volunteer some of your time and some of your people to help with the program. If you are not willing to help at all, then stop paying lip service to education and resign yourself to the fact that you are moving toward an increasingly competitive marketplace with a technically incompetent staff. DFM software gets cost-specificJun 01, 1997
To give designers an upfront, more accurate picture of the opportunities and costs for an injection molded part, BDI recently updated the newest module within its Design for Manufacture suite of software. Early Cost Estimating for Injection Molding (version 2.0) breaks total cost down into four areas: tooling, processing, material, and such secondary operations as printing, painting, or labeling. 2b1af7f3a8