One of the great mysteries of die casting is, “What is happening inside the mold?” In a few milliseconds, a rush of molten metal is thrust into the mold cavity. It splashes on walls and cores, cools faster in some areas, and slower in others. It pressurizes the remaining air in the cavity, forcing some of it into vents and overflows, and chasing some through the shape of the cavity walls. And literally, in the blink of an eye, the cavity is filled.
The physics behind a shot is so extraordinarily complex that to calculate one shot by hand would take a lifetime. With the advancement of computer technology, it is now possible to run a simulation of this whole process in only a few hours. Deco has invested in robust computer workstations, training for our engineers, and in new software called Flow3D-Cast to give us insight into the mystery of what is happening inside the mold.
Flow3D-Cast allows us to slow the process down, and see step-by-step how the metal is flowing into the mold. We can see the flow patterns, the pressures, the temperatures, the velocity of the metal, and watch air and metal interact at the wave front. With this, we can predict surface defects, blistering, and porosity, and we can work proactively to design it out. On new projects, we can simulate gating options, overflows and vents, and can optimize the whole shot before the mold is even made. On existing molds, we can troubleshoot, test and evaluate changes and predict improvements first, before we actually weld or cut the steel.
Performing mold fill simulations adds one more tool to Deco’s toolbox. It is propelling us forward in mold design, and is helping us produce better castings with greater confidence. Now when we ask, “what is happening inside the mold?,” we have an answer.