Liquid metal from ladle pouring in castings at a factory.

How Casting Process Simulation Software Improves Manufacturing Efficiency

THERCAST®,
Articles

Aug 23, 2022

Making high-quality, reliable cast parts is essential to a successful design. The casting process is more effective and cuts down on time to market when engineers can simulate castings before the metal is poured. Sophisticated casting process simulation software avoids expensive prototype cycles and squandered time and resources upon perfecting the mold.

Without simulation, perfect casting requires expensive iterations to fine-tune the casting. Making the right decisions first avoids costly modifications and saves time and money. The time it takes to create a component from start to finish is significantly shortened by simulation.

Traditional Metal Casting Is Inefficient

Metal mold casting is a complex process that relies on a multitude of parameters and the unique geometry of the casting. There are a variety of variables that can be changed when casting metal, and the results are all interrelated. Without simulation, the only practical way to reduce the time to a final mold is to rely on the experience and know-how of casting engineers. It can be challenging to foresee air entrapment, porosity, and cold closes even with much knowledge, as these issues are sometimes not discovered until after casting.

After a prototype casting is done and any issues are identified, casting experts are great at proposing solutions to try on the next iteration. If these changes do not accidentally introduce new problems, the casting may be good after just a few iterations. Sometimes the part still does not operate as expected, and the process might continue, wasting valuable time and money.

Casting Process Simulation Software Increases Efficiency

Simulating metal casting is indeed a challenging task. In the past, casting engineers used manual calculations and expertise instead of simulations to predict how various variables would impact the casting process. Instead of being able to run the scenario through a computer, engineers would make their best guess. Then, engineers would pour a prototype run. After examining the post-cast results, they would tweak variables, and a new iteration poured. This process was costly and time-consuming, but the only option until simulation became available. 

With simulation, the efficiency of metal casting has significantly increased. The physical process of metal casting has many parameters that need to be solved simultaneously. Advanced casting process simulation software like THERCAST® by Transvalor runs a thermo-mechanical resolution in both the part and the molds at each simulation increment. This is extremely important for simulation software to consider the impact of the thermal resolution onto the mechanical resolution and vice-versa to produce accurate results to be used by engineers in their decision-making process.

Removing the need to make an actual prototype casting increases efficiency by saving time, money, and labor. Just as engineers modify a casting to reduce porosity or some other defect, the simulation changes these variables to visualize how the finished casting changes. If the change has the desired result, then great. If not, they can make more adjustments immediately, and the engineers can run more simulations.

What Variables Matter?

Casting process simulation software now allows the user to adjust vital casting parameters and simulate the outcome of these changes. Making small changes quickly allows for more fine-tuning than traditional methods of casting. Some of the most fundamental variables to adjust are:

  • Pouring rate
  • Metal solidification rate
  • Total metal volume

Simulation software can also recommend the number and placement of risers and feed gates, including their sizes and shapes. Modifying these variables allows you to see the impact on characteristics of the casting, including:

  • Thermal gradient
  • Shrinkage rate
  • Turbulence
  • Hot points

Simulation Leads to Better Castings, Faster

With simulation using THERCAST®, the software can fine-tune a design well before any metal is poured. THERCAST® is advanced enough to take complex phenomena into account, increasing the accuracy of simulations. Self-radiation phenomena, the effect of shrinkage on air gaps and changing heat transfer rates, and turbulent flow simulation are all within the capabilities of advanced casting process simulation software. 

Metal casting simulation is critical when attempting to reduce time to market, optimize material utilization, or extend the usable life of a mold. Casting simulation can cut down on iterations, lower design costs, cut down on scrap, and accelerate time to market. Get in touch with the professionals at Transvalor to learn how to leverage advanced software so you can complete your metal casting the first time correctly.

 

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