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Metal Casting Technologies : September 2006
84 TECHNICAL FEATURE INTRODUCTION asting simulation is now well accepted for its benefits in terms of quality assurance (by predicting and preventing internal defects through appropriate modifications to process, tooling, or product parameters), yield optimisation (leading to energy saving, and higher productivity), and shorter development lead time. For wider penetration in the industry, casting simulation programs need to be reliable, easy-to-use, and fast. While physics-based simulation is well established, the accuracy of results (such as solidification time and location of shrinkage defects) is influenced by metallurgical models and availability of temperature-dependent material property database. The methoding or rigging (feeder and gating design) has to be decided by the user, followed by solid modelling, which requires foundry experience and CAD skills. The simulation of intricate castings may take more time than shop-floor trials, and any error in program inputs implies further delay. To overcome the above limitations, an integrated software program called AutoCAST has been developed, by combining intelligent methoding, feeder/gating modelling, and casting simulation in a single environment. Its first version was developed in 1998, through a collaborative project between the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and Advanced Reasoning Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai. The program is briefly described here, followed by an industrial example of troubleshooting and improving an aluminium-alloy part produced by gravity die casting. AutoCAST-Casting Design Assistant C By Professor B. Ravi ABSTRACT: The casting design assistant AutoCAST based on Vector Element Method for solidification simulation, enables accurate prediction of shrinkage porosity for even complex castings in a few minutes. By incorporating algorithms for intelligent design of feeders and gating, and their automated solid modelling, the learning curve for the software has been reduced to a few hours. It has been successfully validated for all major alloys and processes, and is being used in several dozen organisations, mainly in India. www.metals.rala.com.au Figure 1. Casting methoding and simulation program showing part model import,