Software 'cloud' helps molders monitor production

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: March 30, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Injection Molding, Machinery, NPE 2012

ORLANDO, FLA. (March 30, 11:15 a.m. ET) — Cloud computing is not just a buzzword for a molder’s tech services department. It is also for molders that want to get the most out of their presses in day-to-day production.

“[The cloud] removes the barriers that were there because of computer hardware [limitations] and makes it so that you can study more things,” said Bob Williams, solution marketing manager, simulation at software company Autodesk Inc. (Booth 49009). “There were all of these things that could have been done in simulation before, but nobody had the time or the computer space.”

Autodesk’s Moldflow analysis has been a go-to resource for companies designing molds and new products. By creating simulations, those firms can make sure the geometry and material flow will work in production. But Williams said Moldflow’s potential has been much greater than that. The capabilities exist for adding details about press size, melt temperatures and cycle time — right alongside its more familiar use for testing complexity in part and mold development.

The problem, traditionally, is that all that information took up a lot of space on a computer’s hard drive, and companies had to prioritize and ration their use of Moldflow. The cloud changes that, Williams said.

Cloud computing has been around for a while, but recently it has received greater attention and emphasis. Apple Inc., through consumer advertising, has brought wider recognition to the cloud and cloud-based services for storing and accessing music, photos, videos and apps — such as its iCloud.

The cloud itself, however, is not simply an Apple creation, nor as ephemeral as the white fluffy things floating in the sky. Cloud computing is a phrase to describe off-site data storage locations — or server farms – which holds massive amounts of files for everything from email to highly detailed renderings of complex parts, Williams said. Users then access that information from anywhere with a wired or wireless connection, using anything from a smart phone to a desktop computer.

What this means for Moldflow users is that they no longer need to have all of the schematics and geometry and software loaded onto their own hard drives. Instead, using a secure log-on, a mold designer could set up a program with all the data needed, but the intensive calculations are done at a remote server, keeping their own systems free to run other programs.

Autodesk began offering the cloud for its Inventor level of Moldflow 18 months ago, and expanded it to its more complex full Moldflow simulations in late 2011.

“What we’ve seen is people are uploading gigantic models that their local computers couldn’t handle,” Williams said. “They may have 10 to 20 different variations that they’re looking at, and running it all at the same time, where before they would have had to do one after another on their computer.”

Users also are discovering the availability a cloud-based Moldflow analysis has on picking the right press size to use, the correct pressure and cycle time. They can run simulations that will check what tweaking one gating alternative would make in manufacturing the part, then use that information to see which presses are the best for that parts – or even if they have the right presses on the floor to bid for a part in the first place.

“We have a customer who uses the software as part of the quoting and bidding process so he knows whether it’s right for them in the first place,” Williams said. “That’s the biggest benefit to the shop floor. It should make it much more clear for what the processes should be like (in simulation), as opposed to having to do things where you do one thing, see how it turns out, then make adjustments and see how it turns out after that.”


Comments

Software 'cloud' helps molders monitor production

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: March 30, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Smartphone work adds 52 percent to sales for China's Eva Precision

September 18, 2014 4:37 pm ET

Growth in supplying the smartphone and automotive industries helped Chinese processor Eva Precision Holdings Ltd. push injection molding sales up 52...    More

Image

Nolato Contour beefs up white room molding capabilities

September 18, 2014 11:56 am ET

Nolato Medical has extended its controlled environment options to include a white room at its Baldwin, Wis., Nolato Contour plant.    More

Badger buys competitor Joseph Homa

September 17, 2014 4:04 pm ET

Badger Plug Co. has extended its protective plugs customer base by acquiring and closing a rival, Joseph Homa Consultants Inc. of Montreal.    More

Image

Cascade Engineering founder Keller to step down as CEO

September 16, 2014 8:33 pm ET

Cascade Engineering Inc. is undergoing a transition as President Mark Miller will also add the role of CEO, replacing founder Fred Keller, who has...    More

Image

Canadian, Mexican injection molders form auto supply joint venture

September 16, 2014 2:26 pm ET

A new automotive parts manufacturer will open in Querétaro, Mexico, through a joint venture between Canadian automotive supplier Papp Plastics and Dis...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events