| || |
Axiomatic Product Development Limited : Moldflow Plastic Adviser
Axiomatic Product Development Limited (Concord, Ontario) is a complete product development services company, providing high-end engineering consulting services for the automotive, aerospace, and consumer products industries. The company works with its clients to enhance business processes, facilitate the effective use of technology, and provide the educational services and design tools to maximize efficiency.
The firm was established in 1998 and employs more than 20 professional engineers to meet the demanding requirements of product development to a global customer base including automotive tier 1, 2, and 3 companies such as Magna, Collins & Aikman, ABC Plastics, Dow Chemical, as well as automation and tooling companies.
Many projects begin at the studio or design phase working with clients such as Chrysler, Ford, Honda, and Nissan to develop a conceptual design. According to Ed Panziera, Axiomatic Product Development (APD) president, "We work with the clients' design teams to determine what designs are feasible. We work all the way through the product development cycle, prototype tooling, production tooling and troubleshooting, to the production floor where we deal with molding and manufacturing issues."
Panziera says APD's greatest challenge is the design for tooling and automation of automotive plastic parts. The majority of the plastic parts it develops are functional assemblies that involve kinematics and complex tool actions. "Customers expect APD to help them reduce manufacturing costs via weight reduction and design for automation," Panziera notes. "We are also expected to reduce development time to market of new products, and validate design parameters through the use of CAD and CAE tools prior to start of hard tooling. We can accomplish that using technologies such as EDS Unigraphics, EDS I-DEAS, Pro/ENGINEER, SolidWorks, Catia, and Moldflow software."
APD uses a variety of Moldflow products including Moldflow Plastic Insight (MPI) with various MPI modules such as Flow, Fusion, Expert, Cool, Warp, Fiber, Stress, Shrink, Gas, Optim, Reactive Molding, 3D, Co-Injection, Midplane, Insert Molding, and Over-Molding.
The CAE tools including finite element analysis software and Moldflow simulation software provide the means to safely reduce weight and integration features with confidence that the parts can be molded and pass validation testing. These CAD and CAE tools reduce the number of engineering revisions typically required, thereby, bringing new products to market faster.
"Moldflow products provide extremely valuable CAE design and process validation tools, especially for our high volume automotive customers," Panziera adds. "Material reductions of even a few grams can provide significant cost savings. Cosmetic issues such as sink, warp, and blemishes can be addressed before tooling is produced, potentially saving thousands of dollars in tool revisions."
Deepan Dhanasekaran, an APD engineer, says, "We are especially pleased with the latest innovations with the MPI/Fusion product that allows us to tackle problems we could not solve in the past such as creating complex mid-plane geometries. In terms of productivity improvements, Fusion allows us to analyze CAD solid models of thin-walled parts directly, resulting in a significant decrease in model preparation time. The time-savings allows us to analyze more design iterations as well as perform more in-depth analyses."
Tricky automotive chrome plated plastic Inside Door Handle
A GM tier 1 automotive supplier approached APD for help with a troublesome chrome plated plastic inside door handle. Panziera notes, "The supplier had numerous problems with the gate blush and sink marks that only appeared after the parts had been plated. The high scrap rate and numerous tooling changes to attempt to remedy the problem were very costly. We used MPI Fusion to determine the optimum location, profile and shape of the gate to reduce gate blush and pack the part. The result was a dramatic reduction in scrap rate, from 100 % to nearly 0 % (with only start up scrap).
Moldflow as a partner
APD believes Moldflow is the de-factor standard in plastic flow simulation technology and is used by the majority of its clients in the plastic industry. "Our staff had previous experience using software from C-MOLD, (acquired by Moldflow in 2000), so the migration to MPI was a non-issue. The simple, easy to use interface and enhancements offered by MPI required only a few days use in order to become proficient."
"Moldflow has become an essential part of the product development process for the plastic parts we develop," adds Panziera. "Moldflow software has provided us with a competitive edge over our competitors who fail to validate their products. We can propose design concepts with the assurance that the part can be manufactured and meet customer requirements.
"Using the software gives us an advantage because we can take a six month prototype development process and reduce it to one week. We have a higher level of confidence in terms of risk management because Moldflow software helps reduce the risk associated with tooling challenging parts and helps identify parameters that can cause production problems such as plating defects."
For information about Axiomatic Product Development, visit www.apd.ca. Go to www.moldflow.com for information about Moldflow and its products and services.
Author: Laura Carrabine