AKRON, OHIO — Moldflow Corp., which supplies computer-aided-engineering software that simulates how a mold fills, has changed course on its road to enter the machine controller business, with a new product — Moldflow Plastics Xpert (MPX) — slated for K'98 in Germany.
Three years ago, at K'95, Moldflow introduced a product called Intelligent Process Control. IPC was intended to set up, then actually control an injection press using Moldflow's CAE data.
MPX marks a different approach. Instead of trying to replace the machine controller, Moldflow's new product helps the existing controller work better. It also sets up the machine. Moldflow Plastics Xpert, unlike IPC, can set up the machine with or without data from the company's mold-filling simulation software. CAE is required to run IPC; it is an option with MPX.
``We've retired the IPC technology,'' said Ken Welch, vice president of marketing. ``[MPX] downloads settings into the controller. It does not replace the controller.''
Welch described the technology in a recent interview at Plastics News' Akron office. Moldflow is based in Lexington, Mass.
MPX is much easier to install than its predecessor.
``This is very simple to hook up. You can hook it up in an hour,'' Welch said.
The unit comes in a small industrial personal computer that uses a standard interface. A laptop computer is hooked into the system.
MPX also can become a consistent way to set up machines from several different suppliers, according to Moldflow officials. Companies can control multiple machines via the Ethernet.
The old trial-and-error approach, even by veteran mold-setup technicians, can yield inconsistencies.
``If you take five different die setters, you can take the same mold and same machines and get five different setups,'' Welch said.
MPX has three main functions:
Setup Xpert. As parts are run during setup, problems are shown on a menu. Technicians can click on the problems and the machine cycles again to fix them.
Moldspace Xpert, which automates a design-of-experiments process to determine the ideal window of processing parameters, such as shot size, injection speed and packing pressure.
Production Xpert, which monitors key parameters and trends, analyzes the statistics and then determines quality-control limits.
Tel. (781) 674-0085, fax (781) 674-0267.