Q: Casting simulation has developed significantly in recent years, and many foundries already have capabilities in place to simulate designs and processes. What does your range of services offer, and why shouldn’t casting producers handle their own projects?
A: Beyond the products we offer, the ASK Chemicals’ Design Services Group supports our customer base with several services. We are consultants and facilitators, for instance, across many foundry processes. Consider casting development, with our alliance partners we can optimize the individual aspects of this process not only through simulation services but with state-of-the-art facilities that allow us to make prototype castings with “production intent”. This ensures casting development is done right.
Unfortunately, too often, we find that the final product is not considered enough during the beginning phases. I have even experienced situations where production was halted because of flaws in the tooling and mold designs. This is a costly and time-consuming mistake. A prototype shouldn’t have been created until these components were perfect first.
Fortunately, our services are geared toward perfecting development long before production. Take core box design, for example. We will optimize the blow tube and vent design using state-of-the-art computer simulation software. This allows a foundry to maximize its productivity, reduce scrap and optimize raw material purchasing. It’s a win-win scenario.
But to answer the second part of the question, realize that the foundry industry is ancient. Until now, tool and pattern makers were relied upon to deliver “perfect” designs. You can imagine the difficulty with this. Simply put, mistakes were inevitable, and in each case the question to be answered is: Can perfection be attained? With simulation programs the answer is yes, and at incredible speed.
ASK Chemicals uses a wide variety of software while some foundries only have the use of one or maybe two. As the saying goes, one size does not fit all. Our engineers use Magma, Flow-3D, Arena-Flow®, or Novacast, as needs dictate. Each of these has unique properties for problem solving, but each one also displays strengths and weaknesses. Our engineers have the knowledge and capability to analysis the opportunity and determine which software would be appropriate for each situation. ASK complements the capabilities that most foundries have in house by either validating what they have done with the same software or taking a different look with a completely different software to ensure good quality from concept to completion.
The ASK Chemicals Design Services Group combines engineering expertise alongside advanced simulation software. Only this combination guarantees the minimization of production risks by focusing on perfecting the design exclusively. This is the huge benefit of using our group vs. choosing in-house options.
Arena-Flow® is one of our proprietary software programs. However, we are not a software company; we are a foundry consumable provider.
Arena-Flow® software is a computational particle fluid dynamic technology (CPFD). It enables you to accurately predict and optimize core box tooling design and the core making process by evaluating core density, core blowing and curing cycle times in a virtual, 3D world. In fact, I would have to say it’s undoubtedly the most accurate software available in the market place today. We knew, some years ago, how valuable realistic core shooting software could be to a foundry. From a technical standpoint, it simulates granular sand motion and air within the tooling, as well as the interaction between the two. No other software on the market today has this capability.
The result is an extremely realistic and accurate simulation that inevitably leads to greater production efficiency and less scrap. We are really proud to have this in our portfolio. It certainly always impresses our customers when they see it. Honestly, their excitement never gets old to me. You can just see them thinking about how much they’ll save on tooling start-up costs, scrap and tooling design. It’s nice to offer something with so much upside!
Tom Oliver is the Senior Global Manager for ASK Chemicals Design Services group.
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