SolidWorks Plastics can help users quickly analyze their injection molded parts and mold process for errors well in advance of physical production. In a conventional design process, mold related problems are often found and fixed late in development, resulting in significant mold rework and cost. Using SolidWorks Plastics, users can shift more of the analysis process to earlier in the development cycle. Design changes are generally much easier and less expensive if made early and can help to ensure development is progressing in the right direction. Also, the rich feedback provided by SolidWorks Plastics, early in the development stage leads to greater freedom to explore different design ideas and innovations.
Using SolidWorks Plastics information can be gleaned about flow trajectories, mold pressure, temperature, etc. One particularly useful result is the identification of weld lines and their location. Weld lines are areas in the part when two opposing flow fronts converge. While not always an issue, these converging flow fronts can create visible lines on the part creating unwanted aesthetic defects. More importantly, they can create weakness in a part that contributes to potential failure.
The option to view weld lines is activated via a check box located in the results menu. Here is an example part with weld lines shown [Figure 1]. The injection point is located on the back left side of the part as denoted by the small red cone.
From analyzing the feedback provided, we would likely want to reduce the number of weld lines on the vent openings to prevent possible failure in these small features.
One of the easiest ways to modify or eliminate weld lines is to change the gate location. The rapid results provided by the SolidWorks Plastics package make this sort of operation very easy. In the example below [Figure 2], the gate location has been changed to the right hand side of the part as denoted by the small red cone. Based on this change, we can see that the weld lines have moved to a much more acceptable location where we can be fairly confident they will have minimal impact on our design.