Proving the design of your plastic components is a critical step in the mold building process – something that should be done before steel is cut. This can be done by computer aided Material Flow Analysis (MFA). Using the 3D image of the mold design, along with inputting the data points and the characteristics of the plastic material chosen for the component, a molding simulation can be performed showing how the material will flow through the mold given that specific design. If problem areas are encountered, design changes can be made prior to cutting steel – a much more cost-effective and efficient way to make needed changes.
While you don’t necessarily need to perform an MFA on every part, it can be an excellent way to check the mold design prior to cutting steel. Some of the considerations to make when deciding whether or not to use MFA include the part geometry. Some parts have extremely complex geometry which can cause obstacles to the material flow and result in slower cycle times or even part defects. You might consider MFA for parts with very tight tolerances or for components that need to be snap-fit after molding or assembled in ways that made some dimensions critical.
MFA can be especially helpful in determining how material will flow if there are wall thickness variations – such as thick to thin wall sections; how material will flow around bosses that may require inserts after molding; how the material will behave when molding long, thin parts that may tend to warp. An MFA can help determine optimum gate locations and how multiple cavities will fill – they need to fill in a consistent manner – and avoid knit lines, sink marks and other defects that might result from a part design or mold design issue.
An MFA is particularly important if you want to build a family mold – a multiple cavity mold with various sized and shaped components. Family molds are especially difficult and certainly an MFA can be beneficial in obtaining a balanced runner system so that the material will flow through the mold evenly without resulting in flashing in some parts and short-shots in others.
At Anderson Technologies, we provide MFA using the software from Autodesk, Moldflow – a tried and proven material flow analysis that can help you determine the viability of your part and the mold design we have developed based on your part design. At Anderson, we help you achieve new levels of success!