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The most cost-effective time to optimise plastic parts for manufacturablity is during the initial stages of product design. Skipping this step can often lead to an inefficient mould design with an extremely narrow "good parts" processing window, resulting in high reject rates and time-to-market delays.

The cost of making changes early on in the design process is relatively low, but the impact is at the highest level. The sooner you optimise your plastic parts and injection moulds for manufacturability the better. The later you leave it the more the cost of change increases further downstream, and could lead to significant time-to-market delays.

The challenge in plastics part production is determining how your part or mould design impacts upon manufacturing, and how manufacturing impacts upon your design, as early as possible, and communicating this as early and frequently as necessary through the whole design-to-manufacture process. SOLIDWORKS Plastics provides all the tools you need to quickly identify any potential problems so you can make changes early in the design process.

For designers of plastic parts or injection moulds, SOLIDWORKS Plastics simulates how melted plastic flows during the injection moulding process, to predict manufacturing-related defects on your parts. Once identified, defects can be easily minimised or eliminated altogether by making changes to the part design, mould design, plastics material or processing parameters, saving energy, natural resources, time and money.

Fully integrated in the SOLIDWORKS environment, SOLIDWORKS Plastics Professional will analyse and modify designs for manufacturability whilst at the same time optimising for form, fit and function.

Variants

SOLIDWORKS Plastics is available in three versions, with SOLIDWORKS Plastics Standard for optimising parts for manufacturability in the early stages of design, SOLIDWORKS Plastics Professional being ideal for plastics part designers, and SOLIDWORKS Plastics Premium being perfect for mould designers and mould makers.

SOLIDWORKS Plastics ​Standard - for plastics part optimisation

Easy to learn and use, full embedded within the SOLIDWORKS CAD environment.

  • Analyse and modify designs at the early stages
  • Optimise for form fit and function

SOLIDWORKS Plastics Professional - for plastics part designers

Answers the basic questions around whether your part will fill, where are the weld lines and will there be air traps?

  • Simulates the mould filling stage
  • Optimises part designs for manufacturing
  • Determines the best gate location(s)

SOLIDWORKS Plastics Premium - for mould designers and mould makers

SOLIDWORKS Plastics Premium gives anyone designing or building injection moulds an accurate, easy-to-use way to optimise them. Quickly create and analyse single, multi-cavity and family mould layouts, including sprues, runners and gates. You can even balance runner systems and estimate cycle time, clamp tonnage and shot size.

  • Simulates the filling and packing stages
  • Optimises single and multi-cavity mould layouts
  • Automatically balance family mould runner systems
  • Determine maximum injection pressure requirements and machine size
  • Simulate advanced analysis of insert overmoulding, 2-shot moulding, gas-assist and valve gates

Key Benefits

  • Predict and avoid injection moulding manufacturing defects.
  • Eliminate costly mould rework
  • Easy-to-earn SOLIDWORKS Plastics does not require extensive analysis or plastics expertise
  • Web-based HTML reports make it fast and easy to communicate simulation results and design advice to all members of the design-to-manufacturing team.
  • No translation issues as SOLIDWORKS Plastics works directly on your 3D model - see changes to your model and their impact immediately.
  • Powerful, fast state-of-the-art meshing system covers a range of geometries, from thin-walled parts to very thick and solidparts.
  • Intuitive user interface leads you step by step
  • Guided analysis setup with intelligent defaults and automated processes ensure simulations are set up correctly even if simulation tools are rarely used.
  • Database containing approximately 5,000 grades of commercial plastics, fully customisable for proprietary or custom materials.
  • Part designers get rapid feedback on the effect of modifications to wall thickness, gate locations, materials or geometry.
  • Mould designers can quickly optimise multi-cavity and family mould layouts and feed systems - including sprues, runners and gates.

Resources

SOLIDWORKS Delivers All Round Growth for Intelligent Energy

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Intelligent Energy Ltd

The Company

Intelligent Energy develops clean and efficient energy technologies for the global automotive, consumer electronics and distributed power and generation markets. With over 25 years of research and development, Intelligent Energy now employs more than 350 people globally. Just some of its more recent innovations include the launch of UppTM, a personal energy device which powers USB-compatible mobile electronic devices, such as smartphones, wearable technology, portable speakers and eReaders.

The Challenge

Intelligent Energy wanted an integrated 3D CAD system that would grow organically with the company and let their engineering team have the flexibility and confidence to design effectively.

The Solution

Over its history Intelligent Energy's growth has been matched by a steady expansion of SOLIDWORKS from two to 45 physical seats of SOLIDWORKS Professional and Premium, as well as utilising the full breadth of add-ons including; SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional, Flow Simulation, Sustainability, Plastics Professional, Electrical 2D, Electrical 3D and Composer.

Matt Lennard, Design Tools Manager, Central Engineering at Intelligent Energy explains why it was so important to have an integrated CAD system when designing in a 3D environment. "Our work often involves the development of unique designs. We need to be able to see them in virtual form before we actually start to make them. It is important that we know for certain that everything will work and fit first time. SOLIDWORKS gives us that business advantage.

Results

  • Increased flexibility of design
  • Integrated simulation means better and stronger designs without waste
  • Faster assemblies thanks to enhanced data capturing and storing of knowledge with SOLIDWORKS Electrical
  • Accelerated development time for automotive fuel cell integration into modern electric vehicles
  • Development of the innovative Upp personal energy device on SOLIDWORKS.

NT CADCAM

NT CADCAM has helped Intelligent Energy on a number of issues including training and applying for government funding.

 "NT CADCAM helped us apply for a series of in-house training courses to bring our people up to speed with routing and simulation advanced training," says Matthew, adding: "They've also provided us with TransMagic which aids seamless data translation, and on the one or two occasions when I have needed tech support, the NT CADCAM team have been invaluable."

"SOLIDWORKS has driven itself hard to make a complete package with the range of new features it has got constantly coming in. Consequently we have driven it hard, using the full SOLIDWORKS suite extensively on all our product designs especially when working on integrated automotive products where we've had to assemble our fuel cells in a specific space. Some of the spaces have been unbelievably tight and to use an integrated 3D CAD system in this way has been key in providing a competitive service for our customers."

Matthew Lennard

Design Tools Manager, Central Engineering at Intelligent Energy Limited.