While previously, special and expensive computers were necessary for the elaborate simulations, today, high-performance PCs are standard hardware for the casting process simulation. Physics is increasingly integrated into the programmes, models are becoming more comprehensive and precise, and results should be available earlier and earlier.
So computer performance still counts. If simulation programmes are parallelised however, the enormous performance potential of parallel computers with multi core technology can be exploited. With suitable software on these computers, "experimenting on the screen" and automatic optimisation become a reality. Ultimately, the caster needs a reliable simulation programme, which is continually tested, checked and improved.
CAE (Computer-Aided Engineering)
Meanwhile, simulation has been generally accepted as a CAE method in the foundry industry, and industries that use castings, which are still growth markets. "We have looked intensively at the question: How can a simulation tool be optimally used in a typical small business industrial environment?", says Dr.-Ing. Jörg C. Sturm, Managing Director of MAGMA Gießereitechnologie GmbH in Aachen.
There is no doubt that significant cost savings can be achieved using casting simulation. "90% of the customers are foundry operations", points out Jörg C. Sturm. "The classic use of the casting process simulation takes place in the work preparation, in order to support the casting design of the future casting early on.”
This includes defining the gating and feeding technique and the mould design. On the one hand, it is about making the layout of the casting process process-reliable with the software, to be able to produce the desired quality safely, and at the desired cost. On the other hand, the simulation tool is used to influence component characteristics of castings in a needs-oriented and very targeted manner.
As we know, casting has the equal advantage and disadvantage that a lot happens in a production step. This results in the fact that the resulting component characteristics are very sensitive to the relevant process used.
Sturm points out what is special about MAGMA: "We can forecast these characteristics locally - for example, whether the material used has the potential to optimise the component, with regards to lightweight construction." Thus, for example, every casting has cooling related tensions, which arise as a result of the manufacture. They must be considered in the loading conditions.