Modeling software is available to forecast the course of a production process, but what can be done to help metalcasters optimize a particular order. More specifically, with cost and quality concerns always in mind, how can operators improve the choices in respect to process design and product selection?
MagmaSoft is a simulation software for casting production, including capabilities for mold filling, solidification, mechanical properties, thermal stresses, and distortions. Featuring an integrated solid modeler, CAD interfaces, and databases, menu-driven MagmaSoft now employs Foseco Pro Module, a parametric 3D library of Foseco Metallurgical sleeve and filter products. The library combines with a proprietary database of sleeve-material thermo-physical datasets and filter pressure-drop data.
With this module, MagmaSoft enables casting-process simulation and best practices in gating and risering, according to officials with Foseco Metallurgical. In the casting-simulation program, Pro Module interfaces are accessed through new entries on the database menu, Foseco Sleeve Database and Foseco Filter Database.
By selecting the relevant database in the MagmaSoft pre-processor, users can navigate a library of sleeve and filter products, or use the search function to list only sleeves of a required size or modulus. Options tabs offer the flexibility to attach various optional breaker-cores types, specify filter types within a direct pouring unit, or include hot topping on an open riser. Once users confirm selection of a sleeve or filter, it automatically renders as a 3D model. Because the models are fully parametric, users can edit selections easily, changing size or configuration.
With the addition of the integrated module, modeling of sleeve and filter products have been greatly simplified, according to Tony Midea, the product development manager at Foseco Metallurgical. He lists several benefits to MagmaSoft users, including:
- It eliminates uncertainty with respect to product design attributes and performance.
- It simplifies simulation set-up due to predefined material and filter properties.
- It simplifies modification of sleeve size or type via fully parametric sleeve and filter models.
- It assists efforts to optimize methods using different sleeve types. And,
- It allows users to focus on other casting-process-related inputs.
Sleeve selection simplified
The module’s library is sorted into sleeve product groups depending on their suitability for applications in steel, iron, or aluminum. Upon selection of the alloy type, a list of products and their available sizes appears. When a final sleeve configuration is confirmed, the sleeve is modeled as a parametric macro, combining all the chosen sleeve elements — sleeve, feeder metal, breaker core, breaker-core metal, filter, etc. — directly into the MagmaSoft pre-processor.
The thermo-physical properties of the feeding system products used in the Foseco Pro Module were developed by direct laboratory analysis. Individual tests were run to establish the temperature-dependent properties of each sleeve recipe type. These datasets accurately describe how heat is generated by, and conducted through, the sleeve, and are automatically assigned to the sleeve geometry in the simulation set-up.
Also included in the Pro Module database are heat-transfer-coefficient data specific to Foseco feeding-systems products. These datasets accurately describe the heat transfer between metal and sleeve, and between sleeve and mold. Although not automatically assigned to sleeve products in the current simulation set-up, the heat-transfer-coefficient data will be added in a future release of Pro Module.
To ensure simulation accuracy, Foseco Metallurgical conducted extensive tests on its thermal datasets, comparing the modeling results in MagmaSoft with the actual thermal behavior of the sleeves in the mold and the predicted feeding results. Results showed consistent accuracy. By improving the prediction of heat transfer from the metal, through the sleeve and into the mold, the software accurately models the solidification of the casting.
Filter modeling mimics real world
The filter interface functions similarly to the sleeve database, with additional features to be available in future releases. Available filter types are displayed according to their suitability for the selected alloy. Once filter selection is confirmed, it also is modeled as a parametric macro in the MagmaSoft pre-processor. Filter pressure-drop data automatically assigns to the filter modeled. If the user decides to rotate the filter from its default position, the program automatically detects the new orientation and adjusts the filter-direction parameter accordingly.
As with feeding data, filter data was derived by Foseco Metallurgical by direct testing of its filtration products. To validate the data, MagmaSoft fluid-flow predictions were compared to X-ray filling of actual castings, yielding excellent agreement between predictions and reality, according to Tony Midea.
Properties automatically added
A key aspect of the Pro Module, notes Midea, is the automatic default assignment of product properties. Once sleeve and filter geometries are created in the pre-processor, the appropriate sleeve-material data and filter pressure-drop data are automatically assigned to their respective geometries. Using the Pro Module, users no longer have to input product definitions individually during simulation set-up for sleeves and filters. By automating this step of the simulation set-up, users are assured that thermal datasets for sleeves have been correctly assigned and that appropriate pressure-drop characteristics have been applied to the filters. The module’s combination of a 3D library and automatic thermal-data assignment enables users to accurately represent the precise geometry and model the specific product performance characteristics for Foseco feeding and filtration system products.
The Foseco Pro Module sleeve and thermal-performance databases currently exist for products available in North American and European markets. Region-specific databases for all market areas will be added throughout 2005 and beyond, according to Midea.