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CAD/CAM & CAE. (What to See at NPE 2003).

Molders and tool makers looking for new capabilities in CAD, CAM, and CAE software will find a number of products worth investigating at this show. There is a new release of CAD design software that includes new mold-design tools. There is much more that's new in reverse-engineering and inspection software, and a substantial crop of new software for simulating injection and blow molding, thermoforming, and profile extrusion. Recent developments in rapid prototyping systems will also get exposure in Chicago.

CAD for moldmaking

VX Corp. is the one exhibitor bringing out a new release of a full-featured CAD/CAM system. Release 8.0 includes new tools to simplify mold design--for example, a new one-step utility for creating inserts, cooling channels, and ejector pins. New flexibility has been added to parting-line creation, such as the ability to use a variety of intersecting faces. Also new is VXDesign Optimizer, which allows packaging designers to easily modify a product to achieve a particular result. For example, the user could specify a bottle's target volume and its height--the software will then calculate its width.

If you're looking for reverse engineering or dimensional inspection software, at least three exhibitors should attract your attention. Raindrop Geomagic is showing the latest release of Geomagic Studio software that takes point-cloud data from 3D laser scanners and turns it into a polygon model. The firm's Geomagic Qualify software compares parts or molds with the original CAD model Similar capabilities are afforded by PolyWorks software from Innov-Metric. And Kreon Technology supplies a laser scanner to fit on a CMM or CNC machine, as well as 3D digitizing software to turn the data into a CAD model.

New options for simulation

There's a lot for injection molders at NPE in the way of new simulation software. Moldflow is on the verge of releasing version 4.1 of Moldflow Plastic Insight (MPI), which adds capabilities for simulating Trexel's MuCell microcellular foam process and Synventive's Direct Feed process for using hot-runner valve gates to balance mold filling. Also new is faster cooling analysis and ability to model fiber orientation and its associated effects on warpage and mechanical properties in thick, solid parts.

At the show, molders and designers can also get acquainted with two overseas simulation products that are seeking to compete with Moldflow in North America. One is Moldex 3D from CoreTech System in Taiwan. The other is Sigmasoft from Sigma Engineering GmbH in Germany. Both have new features to demonstrate. Moldex 3D, for example, has a new Extruder Module (developed in conjunction with Compuplast International) that is unusual for modeling the plastication process based on screw design, material rheology, and operating conditions.

Injection molders aren't the only processors who can benefit from process-simulation software. Moldex 3D includes a polyurethane RIM module. Accuform SRO of the Czech Republic has developed blow molding and thermoforming simulations (B-Sim and T-Sim). The latest news is the ability to predict how printed images will distort in thermoforming or when full-body film labels are applied to blown bottles.

Meanwhile, Compuplast has new extrusion, modeling enhancements, including an automatic flow-balancing feature for its Flow 2000 profile die module.

Rapid-prototyping advances

Two makers of rapid-prototyping systems are exhibiting at NPE. Stratasys is highlighting its year-old Prodigy Plus low-cost fused-deposition modeling (FDM) system designed for an office environment. Also, 3D systems, maker of stereolithography, selective laser sintering, and other prototyping systems, will highlight its new line of SLA materials.

Exhibitor Listings Includes CAD/CAM systems and software, flow and cooling simulation/analysis, and rapid prototyping. New developments appear in boldface.

ACCUFORM SRO

Booth 10748 (Exhibiting w/Compuplast)

Czech firm is introducing image distortion prediction capabilities for its blow molding (B-Sim) and Thermoforming (T-Sim) simulation packages.

CAE SERVICES CORP.

Booth 5946

Showing Moldcool Estimator software to predict injection mold cooling times. Also offers Moldflow cooling and warpage analysis services and consulting.

CNC SOFTWARE, INC.

See MasterCam.

COMPUPLAST INTERNATIONAL INC.

Booth 10748

Releasing a new meshing module for its Flow 2000 3D analysis software for extruder screws and dies. Users can now import 3D models from any CAD program. Also introducing an Automatic Flow Balancing plug-in for its Flow 2000 Profile Die module.

CORETECH SYSTEM LTD.

Booths 10746, 10748 (Exhibiting w/Compuplast and EPS Flotek)

Taiwanese firm is introducing to North America its Moldex3D flow-simulation software for injection molding. Based on 3D solid elements, the suite includes flow, packing, cooling, and warpage analysis modules. RIM and fiber-orientation programs are also available, and coinjection and gas-assist modules are in development. The system is said to achieve twice the computation speed at one-third the cost of competitive systems.

Coretech and Compuplast will coexhibit the new Extruder Module for Moldex 3D. Based on Compuplast's Flow 2000 extrusion analysis, the new Moldex 3D module predicts melt temperature and screw recovery time based on screw design, operating conditions, and material rheology.

CREAFORM INC.

Booth 11258

Canadian firm supplies reverse-engineermg, digital mock-up, and 3D inspection services. Represents reverse-engineering and inspection software from Raindrop Geomagic and InnovMetric. Recently became North American sales and service representative for Kreon Technologies' laser-scanning hardware and software.

DP TECHNOLOGY

Booth 12721

Introducing Esprit SolidMillTurn CAM software with a new suite of machining cycles for programming multi-function lathes, mill-turn machines, and Swiss-style lathes. New database of feeds, speeds, and materials, and AN ANSI/ISO-coded library provide optimum feed rates and tools for machining.

EPS FLOTEK

Booth 10740

Offers sales support and distribution for the Moldex 3D family of simulation software from CoreTech System in Taiwan.

FORECAST PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

Booth 13432

Provides rapid-prototyping and manufacturing services. Has a modeling shop, molding shop, and CNC machinery.

INNOVMETRIC SOFTWARE

Booth 11258 [Exhibiting w/Creaform)

Canadian firm supplies PolyWorks software for reverse engineering or inspection. Version 8 is in beta testing.

KREON TECHNOLOGIES

Booth 11258 (Exhibiting w/Creaform)

French firm supplies Zephyr non-contact laser sensors and 3D digitizing software for use with CNC machines, CNC machines, and portable measuring arms. Products are used for reverse engineering, inspection, and rapid prototyping.

MASTERCAM/CNC SOFTWARE, INC.

Booth 11008

Introducing Mastercam Router and Mastercam Mill CAM software with new features that bring increased tool control, faster verification, enhanced solid-contour programming, and the ability to write specialized functions using Visual Basic. New Thin Wall Machining feature provides finer control over delicate cutting procedures. New toolpath verification program from Lightworks improves verification in TrueSolids up to 300%.

MOLD BRIDGE ASSOCIATES, LLC

Booth 10963

Offers Moldflow injection molding simulation services-filling, packing, cooling, shrinkage, warpage, gas-assist, and coinjection.

MOLDFLOW CORP.

Booth 862

Introducing Moldflow Plastics Insight (MPI) version 4.1 process simulation and analysis software. New capabilities including simulation of Trexel's MuCell microcellular foam process and Synventive's Dynamic Feed process, which uses independently controlled hot-runner valve gates to balance cavity filling. Other enhancements include much faster cooling analysis and ability to simulate fiber orientation and warpage in MPI/Flow3D (for thick, solid parts). Also introducing Moldflow Plastics Advisers (MPA) 6.0 for mold and part design. It facilitates rapid creation of ates, runners, and cavity layouts and also provides quick moldability analysis.

PLASTIC ENGINEERING & TECHNICAL SERVICES, INC. (PETS)

Booth 9114

Offers mold-filling and cooling analysis services. Offers FEM and analysis of valve-ate sequencing, gas-assist technology, shrinkage/warpage, and heat transfer.

RAINDROP GEOMAGIC, INC.

Booth 11258 (Exhibiting w/Creaform)

Supplies reverse-engineering and inspection software, as well as capabilities for digital mock-up.

SIGMA ENGINEERING GMBH

Booth 13234

German firm is introducing Sigmalink module for its Sigmasoft 3D molding simulation software. It allows transfer of simulation results to finite-element analysis programs for prediction of product properties. The software can simulate injection molding of thermoplastics and thermosets, elastomers, LSR, PIMIMINI, insert molding, overmolding, and warpage analysis of fiber-filled polymers.

STRATASYS, INC.

Booths 4796, 10518

Showing recently introduced Prodigy Plus, a low-cost, office prototyping system with new features such as WaterWorks automated support removal by dissolving in water, plus the Insight preprocessing software developed for the firm's higher-end systems. Insight allows users to build multiple parts simultaneously and keep a status log of critical project information. Prodigy Plus uses fused deposition modeling (FDM) to make ABS prototypes within a build envelope of 8 x 8 x 12 in.

Also showing recent upgrades for FDM Titan system used to build models from polycarbonate and ABS. Now offers improved surface-finish resolution, finer layer-thickness resolution (0.005 in.) and WaterWorks automated support removal.

3D SYSTEMS, INC.

Booth 9007

Manufactures solid-imaging systems and materials for rapid prototyping, rapid tooling, and functional end-use parts. Offers stere-olithography and selective laser sintering (SLS) systems, as well as office modelers. Recently introduced its own line of epoxy stereolithography resins.

VX CORP.

Booth 5393

Launching version 8 of its integrated CAD/CAM software. Provides enhancements to the interface and new tools that simplify operation and expand design capabilities. Will demonstrate new CAD/CAM design and moldmaking tools. Also supplies new VX Design Optimizer, which helps packaging designers achieve a target volume of a product by easily varying its dimensions. Also new is VX graphical CAM interface that provides an overview of the entire manufacturing process.
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Title Annotation:software news at plastics industry conference
Comment:CAD/CAM & CAE. (What to See at NPE 2003).(software news at plastics industry conference)
Author:Knights, Mikell
Publication:Plastics Technology
Article Type:Directory
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2003
Words:1494
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