What is Mold Flow Analysis and How Does It Impact Production?
When taking on a tooling project, no detail can be overlooked. With the numerous variables that can impact production, you should expect some hiccups. That is why mold flow analysis is such a crucial component of production. Let’s dive into this idea and see how to manage the risks associated with designing a new mold.
First, What is Mold Flow Analysis?
A mold flow analysis is an examination of how the resin will/should flow through the mold. This analysis is a simulation that will provide a prediction of how the mold will perform during and after a production run.
This process is crucial to understand what to expect from your mold including:
- Shrinkage estimate for mold sizing
- Warpage expectation
- Processing conditions
- Flow-induced shear stress
- Weld line location
- Coolant temperature
- And more
The analysis intends to determine three things:
1. The mold life expectancy
2. The overall cost of the mold
3. How to avoid complications
Because this process is done before manufacturing the mold, you can be sure to stay on budget and stick to your predetermined timeline. If the production of the mold is already underway before these issues are uncovered, it is going to be far costlier to get things fixed. The effort required to go through a proper mold flow analysis will be more than worth it in the end.
Not One Size Fits All
The science of mold flow analysis can be adapted to meet the needs of each client. For instance, you may want to have an analysis performed to ensure that the performance of your mold can be expected to fall within an acceptable range.
Alternatively, you may wish to have a more complex and detailed analysis completed, which is likely to be the case when investing more money into a large project. The flexibility of this process is beneficial when you are calculating a budget and adjusting the project to optimize production.
A Smooth Start
Once all of the preparations have been made, the plans have been put in place; you can expect your production run to go off without a hitch. This is because the potential of having to stop a production run shortly after it has begun, to fix problems, will be drastically reduced. The mold flow analysis should have caught anything that was likely to cause problems in production, meaning you can rest easy knowing that your mold should be able to do its job right from the start.
Production delays can cause a couple of damaging issues for a company. First, of course, is the extra cost associated with fixing any problems that may be discovered with the mold. That will add avoidable expenses to the job, and wind up cutting away from your bottom line. Also, there is the potential issue of delivery delays to consider. If you aren’t able to deliver your products on time, you may have to pay penalties depending on the contracts you have in place, or you might lose out on some of the market altogether.
Additionally, you may tarnish the loyalty of a customer relationship, costing even more in the long run. Whatever may happen, production delays are never a positive thing. With mold flow analysis working for you, it’s far more likely that you’ll be able to avoid frustrating stops and starts along the way.
Not Always Called For
It should be clear by now that mold flow analysis is a valuable tool in the case of many tool building projects. However, it is not going to be called for in every case. When a project is using a particularly simple mold, it is probably not going to be necessary to work through this kind of analysis. It will be easy enough to predict how a simple mold will operate without the use of advanced software, so adding this process to your overall project may be unnecessary.
Keep your materials in mind when deciding to perform the analysis. If your project calls for a material that is not frequently used, you will want to consider a complete analysis. It is significantly harder for engineers to predict how the material should fill a given mold when they rarely have the opportunity to work with that material or the material characterization is unavailable.
If you would like to have a mold flow analysis performed for a project you are launching, New Berlin Plastics would be happy to assist. We are proud to offer a full mold flow analysis service as part of all of our project launches. Please contact us right away for more information on this valuable process and how it may be able to help you reach your goals.