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Metal Casting Technologies : March 2010
6 www.metals.rala.com.au he option to simulate the casting process through software is one of the most important innovations in the foundry industry during the last 50 years. The virtual look into the casting mold revolutionized the way how casting products are developed and produced. The exact description and prediction of the casting process, which is enabled through software introduced in 1988 by MAGMA for the first time, creates an increase in profits for foundries when used in the right way. The profit improvements in foundries are created initially through direct, significant cost reductions: The simulation of casting processes saves costs for development, material, process and tooling. Additionally, financial benefits are created through accelerated development processes, more accurate costing/estimating for financial and production planning, as well as for improved margins. Last but not least, simulation supports sales and marketing activities by improving communications and displaying the foundries capability. Simulate to save Beginning with the design of castings, casting process simulation, using MAGMASOFT , saves tremendous amounts of money. All too often castings are still developed with no consideration of the casting process. The expert knowledge of foundry engineers is usually utilized too late. This sometimes leads to the discovery of production related problems in the prototyping or, even worse, during the ramp up of the series production. With simulation, these problems can be diagnosed early and all options to eliminate these issues can be tried out and tested. A large cost factor in foundries is the material costs. The production of i.e. a steel casting requires sometimes more than twice as much metal, than actually needed for the casting itself. The rest is used (lost) by risers, gating systems and machining allowances. This so called return material can be reduced by double digit percentages by optimizing it through simulation. Additional cost reduction potential can be found in permanent mold and diecasting operations through the speed-up of production processes. One of the biggest items of the cost calculation for castings is the tooling costs. This aspect can be approached from two sides using simulation. On one hand it is possible to dial in smaller loads on the gating system, which lead to a longer dielife. On the other hand, simulation can now exactly predict the expected dielife. The "simulating toolmaker" knows exactly how the dielife is shortened and can therefore take actions to increase dielife and validate them to exactly predict the tool life for each casting. Shorter Development Times Accelerate Cash Flow The economic benefits of simulation in the casting design and development are not only realized through materiel benefit of reduced trial runs. Equally valuable is the acceleration of the development process through software like MAGMASOFT . "Time to Market" is often reduced drastically by using simulation. Optimal Finance Management Through Simulation The lack of accurate numbers to describe and calculate the casting process forced many foundries into bigger financial safety buffers. As high prices are rarely accepted in a competitive environment, foundries needed to calculate with a high profitability risk. It was common to experience losses right at the start of production, as tools needed to be repaired or modified quickly and expensively. With MAGMASOFT simulations the complete production process can be predicted with a high degree of confidence. Based on this fact, the sales department is enabled to provide quotes and estimates that are competitive and profitable. Simulation provides competitiveness for marketing and sales The casting users also suffered due to the lack of description and predictability of the casting process. Often product developers have to lift a Design Freeze and redesign a part that is not castable. Even established casting suppliers cannot guarantee quality and delivery without simulation results. Therefore, foundries that provide documented simulation results are at an advantage in the supplier selection process. An increasing number of casting buyers require quotes that are substantiated by simulation results to even get into consideration in a bidding process. The soft but powerful simulation factors: culture and communication MAGMA estimates that, besides the described financial benefits of casting process simulation, 60% of its value is created by a fundamentally changed communication and cooperation. The knowledge of the "right casting" was, so far, hidden in the heads of foundry experts. Simulation externalizes and documents this knowledge and thereby opens it for communication and discussion. Simulation in the Innovation cycle Since the introduction of the first practicable software, the clear economic benefits of casting process simulation have established the methodology and the adjacent technology. In the 90ies innovative foundries placed their bets on simulation. In the next decade the majority of market participants followed them. So far 1100 companies in 51 countries use the software of the technology- and market leader MAGMA alone. Nevertheless, even if this article describes the problems of the "Pre-Simulation Time", many foundries are still operating without simulation (and thereby somewhat back in time). It is expected that worldwide competition and cost reduction pressures, as well as recent economic developments, will force many more foundries towards the introduction of casting process simulation into their operations. COVER STORY A revolutionary methodology establishes itself Profit Increase for Foundries Through Casting Process Simulation T
Media Kit 2010