Automotive Part Manufacturer Adopts Casting Simulation Software
Phillip Keane posted on September 19, 2017 |
Casting simulation software helps reduce design iteration time for casted metal parts.

U-Shin is a global company specializing in access mechanism systems for the automotive industry. Founded in Japan in 1926, the company counts all major players in the automotive industry among its clients and lays claim to a portfolio of over 2,500 patents.

The company manufactures a wide variety of casted metal products, ranging from small items such as a remote fob trigger, all the way up to large steering column structures.

Being so heavily invested in metal casting, surely U-Shin must use some kind of awesome casting simulation software in order to keep ahead of the game? You bet it does.

Plots in Click2Cast showing features such as porosity and pressure. (Image courtesy of solidThinking.)
Plots in Click2Cast showing features such as porosity and pressure. (Image courtesy of solidThinking.)

Recently, U-Shin has adopted the Click2Cast casting process simulation software from solidThinking (a subsidiary of Altair), and is already seeing the benefits of using the program. spoke to Ahmed El-Abidi of U-Shin’s France office to get the lowdown on how the software is helping the company to save costs and get its products out to market in a timely manner.

“Before using Click2Cast, our colleagues in Japan were using ADSTEFAN software for casting simulations,” said El-Abidi. “In parallel, we tested the NovaFlow software through the partner alliance programs. Each software has a very different approach in terms of simulation, modeling and meshing. The modeling takes a long time.

“When we discovered the acquisition of Click2Cast by Altair, then we decided to launch the benchmark on this standard tool inside the HyperWorks CAE platform implemented by the U-Shin R&D network,” continued El-Abidi. “We were pleasantly surprised by the userfriendliness of the interface and the simplicity of modeling in Click2Cast.”

In addition to modeling, the software can simulate various casting processes, including Gravity Die, Gravity Sand, Investment, High Pressure, Low Pressure Die Casting and Tilt Pouring. The software offers a material editor as well to allow customization of the materials database, according to the requirements of the manufacturing process being simulated. The software is capable of simulating and identifying typical casting defects such as air entrapment, shrinkage porosity, cold shuts, mold degradation and more. And naturally, this all helps to reduce design time by nipping these issues in the bud, before moving to the costly prototype stage.

U-Shin is interested in expanding the knowledge of what can be achieved with Click2Cast.

“We have started two consecutive collaborative research projects with French universities,” said El-Abidi. “We are hiring two master’s thesis students to develop methodologies for simulating the injection of zinc alloy based on our specific issues and products.”

Click2Cast is described on its website as being very easy to use, and says that a new user to the software can start using the program and have useful data produced on the very first day they use the software. This is largely due to the simple 5-step Click2Cast workflow. The 5 steps are:

  1. Import geometry
  2. Define ingate and mesh
  3. Setup the process parameters
  4. Run the analysis
  5. Analyze results

Apparently, the workflow is as easy as clicking a mouse. Hence, the name “Click2Cast.”

The 5-step Click2Cast workflow. (Image courtesy of solidThinking.)
The 5-step Click2Cast workflow. (Image courtesy of solidThinking.)

Despite the gentle learning curve and easy workflow, the program packs several useful features that are all designed to increase manufacturing quality and profitability.

The software allows the user to optimize running and feeding systems, simulate casting with riser’s optimization, and visualize both filling and solidification to enhance a model.

Speaking of visualization, Click2Cast can display many different metrics that are all aimed at helping the engineer to quickly identify problems that may arise in the manufacturing process. The software can generate attractive-looking plots that show porosity, pressure, temperatures, mold filling time, flow velocity and solid fraction.

Emphasis is placed on usability in Click2Cast, with the parameters and terms in the software named after real-life foundry terminology (what solidThinking refers to as “foundryman’s language”). So, there is no need to learn new jargon if you already know how to cast.

So, with all this user-friendly, money-saving, productivity-enhancing goodness promised in the software brochure, what are U-Shin’s plans for using the software in the future?

The software has so impressed the folks at U-Shin, that use of the simulation software is now a mandatory requirement for the company when products are being designed.

“The simulation with Click2Cast is now mandatory by the design/process department due to the ability to predict injection-related defects and the cost savings provided,” said El-Abidi. “The Click2Cast tool is also very efficient in terms of the optimization loops. With Click2Cast, we are able to perform many design tooling iterations to find the best configuration of cavities and venting, as well as optimizing the number of overflows and their positions inside the mold.”

A steering column lock cast from magnesium alloy. (Image courtesy of U-Shin.)
A steering column lock cast from magnesium alloy. (Image courtesy of U-Shin.)

So, there you have it. U-Shin is so happy with the product that it has now become a staple in its design workflow. The company is happy with the software’s modeling, usability, and reduced design loops, and is even hiring researchers to broaden the company’s understanding of the software.

Regarding the theme of usability, solidThinking also has a couple of other user-friendly CAE products by the names of Click2Extrude and Click2Form, which are aimed at the metal/polymer extrusion and sheet metal forming industries, respectively.

If you’d like to see for yourself how Click2Cast can save you money and reduce your design iteration time, then you can request a free trial over at the Click2Cast website here.

solidThinking has sponsored this post. They have no editorial input to this post. All opinions are mine. —Phillip Keane

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