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Thread: Moldflow

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  1. #1
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    Moldflow

    I've posted this on another forum so please forgive me for multiple posting. I'm at a new job (1 week) and have been using a new-to-me-program (Moldflow Advisor) for about 12 hrs that the company now wants to use in diagnosing problems on a part they're having trouble (streaking, local deform) with. I suppose my question would be whether anybody out there has used this program enough to offer an opinion from their experience. Beyond spotting something in thermal, flow, or air pockets I don't know what esle the analysis may be used for. Seems like it's ok for predicting a potential problem in a new mold but I'm still too new with it to estimate what the analysis data can be used for. The company may have higher hopes for the program than it's capable of. This type of program is only something I've seen on pages of a magazine and have no other real world experience with it. I've just learned of this intended use last Friday before I went home so the part and the problem will cross my desk on Monday morning. Any replies are appreciated, thanks for reading this.

  2. #2
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    I'm not a moldflow guy, but as far as I know, moldflow software should be able to help you with everything you listed. They key is interpretation of the results.

    Perhaps a call to the software's help line would be in order. They could clarify the capabilities and limits of the software. You could also ask if there are any online materials and tutorials.

  3. #3
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    First off thank you for a reply, even if it's just an observational opinion. I would have been led to believe the sales hype about the capability too. But I've read a couple of comments on another board that refer to the program as little more than what you would expect from sales/marketing. If there's an obvious mark in thermal, flow, or air pocket analysis that corresponds to a physical mark on the part then that's great. But what if nothing shows up in the analysis that would indicate potential trouble? I've already thumbed through the Moldflow instructional manual, somebody from Autodesk was at the company a few weeks ago getting everybody (but me) able to operate the basics. The manual doesn't have much info beyond the basics, can't seem to find much online either. That's what makes me wonder just how good a diagnostic tool it is. Maybe it's too new in the marketplace for anybody to comment upon it. I'll be putting it through the paces next week if anybody is interested.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by roninB4 View Post
    First off thank you for a reply, even if it's just an observational opinion.
    It's observational when it comes to MoldFlow, but we had a consulting firm run an part analysis using VisiFlow in the past. The mold performed exactly the way the analysis said it would. I would think that MoldFlow would be the same (hopefully?).

    Quote Originally Posted by roninB4 View Post
    The manual doesn't have much info beyond the basics, can't seem to find much online either. That's what makes me wonder just how good a diagnostic tool it is.
    Anyone who has used ProENGINEER has experienced this; the software is very powerful, but the documentation is very, very weak ;( MoldFlow could be the same thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by roninB4 View Post
    I'll be putting it through the paces next week if anybody is interested.
    I know I am interested; please post your findings.

    Good luck.

  5. #5
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    I've been using Pro-e since version 2000i and have found a great deal of info out there amongst the users, but little support from PTC. I had hoped to find this the same with Moldflow or any other program that might have a user based discussion forum. I can see how this program might be useful in the design stage just very uncertain the potential when things don't go according to the game plan or when you're trying to find data AFTER the blem shows up. Since I have an impressive 12 hrs. tube time with this it's likely going to be a hunting trip. Hope I can indeed cross reference some anomaly as that would be terrific tool for those in a similar position. Thanks for your reply, I'll post up as things develop.

  6. #6
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    Just a follow up. I used the software to attempt to diagnose the problem last Monday after an e-mail to Autodesk. Since I really haven't been using the program for very long I may not be qualified to comment but here it goes.

    Moldflow seems to be a better tool for the design stage than for diagnosis. It can offer some info to help spot potential problems in the mold through gate location/geometry and process settings but that would be for something that's always ready to appear like hot spots, flow troubles, or pressure drops. You can only simulate the problem IF you've punched in all the variables. So if your material isn't fully dry, or the heater bands on the barrel aren't in the optimum position then an analysis won't show that. It could indicate that no trouble in analysis suggests the problem is in the process.

    Moldflow seems to be useful for "what if" when a new mold is being made or a new/revised design is being considered. Moldflow Advisor is also supposed to be less informative than Moldflow Insight from what I've read.

    Autodesk tech support did send an initial reply, probably company policy. Follow up for furthering the learning of a new user hasn't occured, many of the companies that sell CAD programs aren't much help after the sale unless there's money in training for the seats.

    There is more info available in an analysis, of a more subtle nature, than I was able to detect but a good process tech should be able to determine this by experience IMO.

    I look forward to using/learning this program but it's not a panacea for production problems. I still openly invite more experienced users to reply to this as my knowledge is quite new and limited.

  7. #7

    fix the part problem?

    Hello roninB4,

    Have you been able to fix the streaking and local deform problem on the molded parts? If you can send me pictures of the problem parts, what material your molding, pictures of the mold and/or dxf file of the mold design I may be able to help you get that corrected.

    If you not comfortable posting this information on an open forum feel free to contact me directly.

    I've used MoldFlow in the past and I sure wish you could directly import an entire mold design directly from Pro/E or SolidWorks. It would sure make it a lot easier!

    Good luck and have a terrific weekend!
    Robert
    3D Accuracy

  8. #8
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    Hi 3D;
    The streaking and deform were isolated issues that were more related to production than design. I believe that production was just searching for something to buy them some time IMO. The problems have been dealt with but thanks for asking.

    I'm certainly nobody to evaluate the Moldflow program but it does seem a better tool for evaluation than diagnotic work. I'll really need more time using it before I can estimate what the stong points of anaysis are. Right now my biggest problem using the program is the state of the files that I have to import. I don't get native files to work with when there's a problem, just the STP files or an STL now and then with ALL the features that make Moldflow ill mannered. Since this is all automotive I'm going to presume that the parts are created in Catia but that's not even certain. When a model fails analysis I can only turn to Inventor and it doesn't seem as capable as Pro, SW, or Catia in file conversion (let alone daily use). Maybe it's just me but after using the above mentioned programs Inventor just feels crude and clumsy, maybe I'm just crude and clumsy and I'm projecting.

    I appreciate your input and your gracious offer to help. They have a lot of problems, a lot of molds, and new products demanding attention. As the New Guy I have to watch what I say until I get a better idea of how many receptive ears are listening, who has an axe to grind, and who's been trying to fix any given problem. It's a big international corporation and there's lots of players to interact with.

    What do you use Moldflow for and why (if I can ask that of you)? How accurate do you expect the results to be? A few others have already expressed less than enthusiastic results with using the program and take the reports with a fair degree of skepticism. Your opinion?

  9. #9
    Hello roninB4,

    I haven't used MoldFlow in about five or six years. In the five years I had it prior to that, not once did a customer want to pay for the extra service of taking a part through analysis. Their rational? ... "all the molds you design work just fine without any problems, why should we pay extra for something you can already provide through experience!".

    Basically I used it to confirm my initial thoughts about designing a mold for a particular part. After a while I didn't even bother to do that because in all the time I used MoldFlow there was only one time that it surprised me with an interpretation that was something other than I would have expected. The customer never decided to make the part so I don't really know if it would have been correct or not.

    I don't know how much the software might have changed since I last used it. If you have a current version you might know better than I what it's current capabilities are. I'll keep watching this thread to see what you have to say after you've had time to take it through its paces. Keep us posted!

    The state of the files you have to import are a whole other issue. Not only do you have to deal with different software's and different versions, some of which are better than others, but a lot can depend on how the original user created the model. As an example, before I added SolidWorks I had to import some very complicated models into Pro/E that were just fine, no problems, yet on other occasions I had to import a very simple model made in SolidWorks that was a real mess. I don't think it's the software that's the problem but the skill of the user creating the model.

    I have had a lot of problems importing files created in Inventor, they always seem to be messy, never import cleanly and always need time to repair.

    You're welcome regarding the offer to help, if there's ever anything I can do for you feel free to contact me any time.

    Have a terrific day!
    Robert
    3D Accuracy

  10. #10
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    Robert
    I suppose there are some indicators one could derive from an analysis but with Advisor it's rather a general guideline from what I can see. The other program version is Insight and I gather that it may be more specific and probably costs more for that capability. I don't want to knock Inventor or anybody that works with it but I'm not very impressed with it, maybe I just need to work with it more. You have, however, confirmed what I suspected and I do want to thank you for sharing your opinion. I'll check in now and then if I have anything worth mentioning. Hope things are well by you.

  11. #11
    Hello roninB4,

    You're right about Advisor, it doesn't have quit the muscle of MoldFlows top of the line offering which costs about 2-1/2 times as much the last time I checked. I guess like the saying goes "you get what you pay for".

    I've never used Inventor or any Autocad product for that matter so I really don't know what it's like. The only thing I do know is that a file created in Inventor never comes into Pro/E cleanly. I don't have as many problems with files created in other softwares as I consistantly do with files created in Inventor.

    Since I've added SolidWorks I've yet to import an Inventor file so I'll hold judgement on that until I've tried it a few times.

    Where are you located by the way? I'm in the L.A. area.

    Have a terrific 4th of July weekend!
    Robert
    3D Accuracy

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