Innovative mould maker uses Siemens solutions to improve part quality, reduce costs and lead time.
Founded in 2013, iMFLUX was created as a wholly owned subsidiary of Procter & Gamble (P&G) as the Ohio-based consumer products giant wanted to improve the technology of plastics processing. P&G saw the need to reduce the cost and lead time to launch new plastic part designs. The company eventually developed a breakthrough new technology that utilized low constant injection pressure, leading to the formation of iMFLUX.
Injection moulding requires precision tolerances as plastic is going into tools at up to 20,000 PSI and the gaps between the steel has to resist the plastic from going in between them. The process iMFLUX uses is controlled by pressure rather than velocity or speed. From the moment the press goes to move the screw forward, it is controlling only a set target pressure point. Once it hits that pressure point, it will maintain that pressure until the part’s full and packed out.
The iMFLUX injection moulding process involved a specialized controller that enables filling a mould at a lower, defined melt-pressure profile, allowing a variable filling rate that automatically adapts to the part geometry. Advantages include improved part quality, new part and mould design possibilities, sustainability improvements and reduced costs.
Designing a Next-generation of Moulds
The process begins when P&G or an external customer sends a mould design or part design concept to iMFLUX. It then takes the concept from paper sketch through the final qualification of the mould and the part itself. There is pressure to finish the process as soon as possible to meet the customer’s expectations and also start on the next project, avoiding any bottlenecks.
As a result, the time from conception to build is condensed. Despite rapidly approaching timelines, ensuring complete accuracy throughout the process is paramount. For iMFLUX, it is extremely costly to find dimensional or mould action errors late in the process due to imperfect mould design and/or mould build process that was not virtually validated. This is where NX software comes into play.
“NX Mould Wizard helps us accelerate the process by doing an analysis on the part for draft checks and wall thickness,” says Mark Reagan, mould design engineer, iMFLUX. “It establishes a core cavity split upfront and you can determine whether or not it’s really manufacturable.”
NX also enables iMFLUX to pull in predesign mould bases and hardware from the NX Mould Wizard library. As a result, iMFLUX has accelerated its design process as well as its mould building process by 20 percent.
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