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Mold-filling software now accepts rapid-prototyping data format.

The same CAD data format you use for rapid prototyping can now be fed into the latest flow-simulation software from Moldflow Pty., Ltd., Lexington, Mass. Another new software package, this one from Parametric Technology Corp., Waltham, Mass., translates CAD data into programs for coordinate-measuring machines. These are just two of several recent developments in CAD/CAM and CAE technology.


Moldflow, which just moved its offices from Shelton, Conn., has issued the latest version of its Dynamic Series simulation software. Release 9.2 reportedly features greater compatibility with the actual molding environment and an improved version of the company's midplane generator.

The MF/Optim module, which automatically generates optimized filling and packing profiles based on simulation results, has become compatible with a broader range of injection-machine controllers, according to marketing manager Mark Toussaint. With Release 9.2, users can now specify the input method of the controller to be used so that simulation results can be directly translated into machine settings. What's more, MF/Optim users can now output velocity and pressure profiles that better match the real-world capabilities of specific machines. Toussaint explains that the upgraded software makes faster and more accurate predictions, especially in regard to screw stroke distances for small-cavity molding.

Toussaint also notes that the improvements to MF/Optim resulted from Moldflow's Intelligent Process Control (IPC) project to develop a new product that ties simulation to actual process control (see PT, Oct. '96, p. 13). He says Moldflow will release other IPC-driven enhancements over the coming year.

Also in Release 9.2 is an updated version of MF/Midplane, a midplane generator introduced last year. (A midplane generator "collapses" a 3-D solid model of a part into a surface at approximately the center of the part's wall thickness. Even so-called "3-D" flow analysis actually operates on the midplane.) Now, users can fine-tune the bounding surface mesh of a stereolithography model in ".STL" format - finding and removing overlapping elements, for example. Toussaint notes that .STL files have become a popular format for transferring CAD data into Moldflow, even when rapid prototyping is not directly involved.

Here are some other changes in Release 9.2:

* Accuracy improvements: Toussaint says flow simulation now takes into account the effects of melt compression on melt temperature and thermal expansion. This new "compressibility scheme" will be especially helpful when using pvT data for molds with large-volume runner systems.

* Interpretation aids: MF/Cool cooling analyses can now be interpreted with context-sensitive Help screens that give users guidelines for differentiating between good and bad results.

* More materials: Over 90 new materials have been added to Moldflow's database.


The creator of Pro/Engineer, Parametric Technology Corp., recently came out with a new design and manufacturing software package intended for the mid-range market. New PT/Products runs in Windows NT and Windows 95 and consists of a core design module and modules for manufacturing, rendering, part libraries, and importing engineering data. At the heart of the program is PT/Modeler ($4995), a feature-based, parametric, solid-modeling design module.

Meanwhile, Pro/Engineer Release 17.0, which came out last summer, was recently enhanced with new modules and a tighter integration between its design, manufacturing, and simulation components. Among the new modules, Pro/CMM allows coordinate-measuring machine programs to be created from Pro/Engineer models.


Matra Datavision, Andover, Mass., has come out with a completely new package for CAD/CAM/CAE and PDM (product data management), called Euclid Quantum. It consists of four "application domains": Euclid Designer is a 3-D modeler that combines geometry, design intent (utilizing "smart objects"), and process-related data. Euclid Analyst is a finite-element analysis environment. It introduces the Analysis Reporter, which automatically keeps track of all the data needed for an analysis - including loads, materials, boundary conditions, and automatic meshing parameters. Euclid Machinist handles the NC chores; and Euclid Design Manager keeps track of engineering data - whether in the form of files, objects, geometry, text, video, or audio. Joining these four "application domains" is Euclid Desktop, which is built around STEP data-translation standards but can also translate other types of CAD files.

Developed in the company's CAS.CADE "object-oriented" programming environment, Euclid Quantum runs on Unix, Windows NT, and Windows 95 platforms. The introductory price is $9900 until the end of the year.

In other CAD/CAM news:

* Delcam International, a U.K. CAD/CAM vendor has established a new North American subsidiary of the same name in Windsor, Ont. A new version of its DUCT 3-D CAD/CAM software will be introduced at this month's Interplas show in Birmingham, England. The new version features enhancements to the DUCTmold mold-making module, such as new shading capabilities and the ability to export models in VRML.

* Cadmaster Inc. of East Providence, R.I., has released AutoMold 13, an updated injection mold-design package for AutoCAD. AutoMold now supports AutoCAD Release 13 and works with Windows NT and Windows 95. Price is $379 for new users and $249 for an upgrade.
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Author:Ogando, Joseph
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Nov 1, 1996
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