User Story

Jergens Tool and Mold : 3D QuickFill

For two decades, Jergens Tool and Mold (Dayton, OH) has designed and manufactured plastic injection molds for the automotive, medical, and electronic industries. In addition to building high precision tooling, companies like Toyota, Honda, and Nissan count on the five-person design team at Jergens to address a range of engineering specifications including parts that require intricate, close tolerances, and complex 3D tooling that must satisfy demanding aesthetic requirements.

Jergens engineering manager, Charley Rutherford says, "3D QuickFill is a valuable tool that helps us graphically depict the conditions that are going to happen within mold cavities. I can present the graphics and associated simulation results to a customer to explain a problem we might anticipate. This up front communication tool helps us discuss options or changes while project costs are relatively low."

Maxing Out Solid Modeling
Rutherford says, "One challenge that we constantly face is trying to involve customers in the design process. We design molds as solid models using Unigraphics and Cadkey as opposed to the traditional method of generating 2D drawings or 3D 'wire-frame' models. One of the big benefits is the ability to visually involve non-technical people so that they can better understand what issues, problems, and opportunities may exist. C-MOLD's 3D QuickFill is the perfect extension to this process."

Rutherford and his design team use 3D QuickFill early in the mold design cycle during the discussion of parting lines, gate locations, and what impact aesthetically these factors will have on the finish part. "It's at that early stage," notes Rutherford, "that we run solid model designs through 3D QuickFill. We are able to output pictures showing weld lines and hot spots. Then we can discuss what we can do in the tool to offset those issues before we have the tool very far along. I've been very impressed with the impact 3D QuickFill has had on our company's bottom line and our customer relationships. We have enjoyed several successes since we began using the software about six months ago."

The difference between success and failure
On a recent project, Jergens designers were contracted to build a mold to replace an existing one that was producing unacceptable parts. The biggest issue with the problem mold was the location of a weld line. Designers immediately ran a multitude of scenarios in 3D QuickFill to obtain the optimum set of conditions. Moving the gate was the answer, however, the exact location was very hard to determine. Using 3D QuickFill Rutherford evaluated six different gate locations to find one that would drive the weld to an acceptable spot. The software eliminated the need for Jergens to build the tool and experiment with all those gating scenarios.

Giving experts more expertise
Rutherford explains, "A few months ago, we worked on another tool for an interior automotive part with a hard-to-mold blind, aesthetic feature. Typically, when molders try to mold parts with those types of features, they end up trapping air down into the end of the features resulting in part burning. Using 3D QuickFill, we re-located the gate until we could see the part fill evenly across the deep feature without air trapping.

"For that project, I was impressed with 3D QuickFill because I would not have picked the gate location that we ended up using. Most of the time, molding simulation confirms what you already know. In this particular case, 3D QuickFill presented a new scenario and I was very impressed with that. The technology allows us to try new options and what-ifs that we wouldn't have tried in the traditional sense because it would have been such a big commitment.

Navigating Uncharted Waters
"On a couple of different occasions," continues Rutherford, "3D QuickFill predicted a problem that might have otherwise slipped by. For a lot of molding issues, designers draw upon their experience to anticipate problems. But very so often we will be confronted by a set of conditions that we've not dealt with before."

The Greatest Benefit is Confidence
When Rutherford encountered 3D QuickFill at the National Design Engineering Show, he says he knew it was the product Jergens needed. "I watched a demonstration and realized that the price was right. In-house, we loaded 3D QuickFill and started on our first simulation in only one-hour. It was very easy to use, and intuitive. The fact that we obtained meaningful results right away was significant."

As a result of using 3D QuickFill, Rutherford says his team speaks with greater confidence. "We quote new work with greater confidence because we know we can build the tools with confidence."

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Page last modified on March 22, 2000
Copyright 2000 by John Stark