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Getting Started with

the

Casting Simulation System


Version 8.2.5
Software Modules
The main module: Model building,
materials database, meshing, simplified
filling, solidification simulation and
porosity prediction

True flow modeling (based on


Computational Fluid Dynamics) for
simulation of mold filling and prediction
of flow-related defects

Automated design optimization for


maximum yield
Finite Solutions, Inc. Offices

Vancouver, WA
Slinger, WI
Cincinnati, OH

www.finitesolutions.com
Finite Solutions, Inc. World Wide
Representatives

www.finitesolutions.com
Steps in Simulation - Overview
Select Materials: Casting Alloy, Mold Materials,
Boundary Conditions
Create a 3D Model: Import STL files from CAD
or create 3D shapes within SOLIDCast
Mesh the model
Run a simulation:
Use FLOWCast filling
Use SOLIDCast filling
No Filling
Plot simulation results
Decide whether to redesign/rerun the
simulation or not
Types of Simulation
Naked Casting for design of risers and
gating
Iron Castings (Grey & Ductile)
Other Alloys (Steel, Aluminum, etc.)

Full Casting Design with gates & risers


Naked Casting Simulation: Cast Iron
Select alloy type from database
Select mold material from database
Import the casting shape from an STL file
Mesh the model
Run the simulation
Use the Riser Design Wizard to calculate the Modulus
Use the Mesh to calculate the weight
From the Materials List, select Iron Property
Calculation
Enter chemistry, modulus, temperature, metallurgical
quality and mold rigidity
Calculate the properties
Select Riser Design
Enter the Weight
Calculate Riser and Neck data
Plot the Neck Modulus (Transfer Modulus) to
determine the number of feed zones
Naked Casting Simulation: Other
Alloys
Select alloy type from database
Select mold material from database
Import the casting shape from an STL file
Mesh the model
Run the simulation
Open the Riser Design Wizard
Calculate the number of Feed Zones
Calculate the riser size for each Feed Zone
Plot Modulus values to see the location of Feed Zones
Open the Gating Design Wizard
Enter gating data
Calculate the size of the Sprue, Runners and Gates
Full Simulation with Gates & Risers
Select alloy type from database
Select mold materials from database
Import the casting and gating from STL
Mesh the model
Run the simulation
SOLIDCast Filling
FLOWCast Filling
Plot results
Critical Fraction Solid Time
Material Density (macroporosity)
FCC Criterion (microporosity)
Niyama Criterion (centerline shrink)
Some Concepts
A Project in SOLIDCast is a collection of Models,
Meshes and Simulations. Usually, these represent
different versions of the same casting, but they can
be different castings depending on how you want to
organize your work in SOLIDCast

SOLIDCast works in 3D. This means we have three


directions, X, Y and Z. SOLIDCast assumes that +Z is
up. This is important for establishing the direction of
gravity for filling and feeding. You can view the model
in any orientation. When you are viewing in the XZ or
YZ views, UP is toward the top of the screen.
Some More Concepts
SOLIDCast uses the STL file format to import 3D
shapes from CAD. Most (if not all) 3D CAD systems
have the ability to Save As STL File. You can also
create some 3D shapes from within SOLIDCast. This
can be handy for adding gates and risers to a casting
model.

Mold Filling can be simulated using either the


simplified filling algorithm in SOLIDCast or the full
CFD flow simulation in FLOWCast. FLOWCast
simulation is true flow simulation and is the most
accurate method.
Some More Concepts
What is a mesh? This means that we break the 3D
model into a large number of very small elements so
that the flow, solidification and heat transfer
equations can be applied. We can control the
element size or number of elements when we create
the mesh.

Casting Model Coarse Mesh Fine Mesh


Some More Concepts
The mold can be added to the casting model in either
of two ways:

1.) As a shape added to the model

or

2.) During meshing, by specifying a mold type


(rectangular
or shell), thickness and material type
Modeling
Different Casting
Processes
Sand Casting Simulations
Normally, we neglect internal
(material/material) HTCs when performing
sand casting simulation
In the Materials List, select the HT
Coefficients tab. Make sure the check box
labeled Use Internal HT Coefficients is
blank. For the External HT Coefficient, we
normally use a value of 1.5
When meshing, normally we select a
Rectangular Mold.
Select only as much sand thickness as you
need to absorb the heat (1-2 for smaller
castings, 5-6 for large castings)
Use Open Top if you have open risers, use
Closed Top if you have blind risers
Investment Casting Simulations
Select Investment Shell for your mold material. Set the
Initial Temperature of the shell to your Preheat
Temperature.
To create the shell, you have two options:
1 When meshing, select Shell Mold Type
2 Use the Shell Maker utility program to
create an STL file representing the shell
After meshing, be sure to use View Factor calculator to
account for radiant heat exchange. Select Mesh View
Factor Calculation.
Why use the Shell Maker? If you have things which are
external to the shell such as insulating wrap on the
gating, or a bed of vermiculite in which the shell is
submerged, creating a shell as part of the model makes
it easier to accurately create the model.
To use ShellMaker, you must have an STL file of the
casting AND the gating. If parts of the model were
Investment Casting Simulations, Contd

From the Tools, and select the Shell Maker Utility


Program. Specify the STL file and the surface quality.
This will create an STL file representing the shell.
Now, in SOLIDCast select Add a Shape, select STL and
select the shell file. Designate it as Shell Material, and
give it a large Priority Number (like 8 or 9).
Later when you mesh, select the None option for Mold
Type (you already have a mold as part of the model).
Permanent Mold Casting Simulations
Make sure that Internal HT Coefficients are
turned ON (in Materials List, go to the HT
Coefficient tab and click Use Internal HT
Coefficients)
Specify an HTC for each actual (physical)
interface in the model. If two materials are
in contact, there should be an HTC specified
for the surface between them.
If the mold is rectangular in shape, you can
use the Rectangular Mold option in
meshing. If you want a specific mold shape,
that should be created as part of the model,
then select None under Mold Type in
meshing.
Permanent Mold Casting Simulations, Contd

Make gates and risers out of Riser Material, so that you can
specify a different HTC at those surfaces than at the casting
surface.
If you cant separate the gates and risers (if they are all one
STL file) you can make two types of mold material, say Steel1
and Steel2. Make the mold of Steel1, and make inserts around
the gates and risers using Steel2, then set up the HTCs
accordingly. Between Steel1 and Steel2, use a very high HTC
(say, 5000) which will thermally join these into one material.
Permanent Mold Casting Simulations, Contd

Mesh twice once with fewer nodes (call this Coarse and
once with more nodes (call this Fine). Ratio of nodes may be
anywhere from 1:4 to 1:10.
When you run the simulation, specify Permanent Mold as the
Type, and select the Coarse mesh as the Warmup mesh.
If you have FLOWCast installed, you can select which filling
algorithm to use for the warmup cycles and for the final cycle.
Starting
SOLIDCas
t
Menu

Project Tree

Welcome to the
SOLIDCast start
screen
Creating
a New
Model:

Naked
Casting
Simulation:
Steel
From the Menu, select
File New Model
For the first model,
SOLIDCast will ask
you to enter a Project
Name
Tool Bar

Now we have a blank model space.


Note that we also now have a Tool
Bar. This Tool Bar is mainly for
controlling our view of the casting
model, but it also has a button for
adding shapes to the model.
Selecting
Materials
and Initial
Condition
s
Generally , we start by selecting the
casting alloy, mold materials and
some boundary conditions.

From the Menu, select File


Materials List
The tabs
across the
top tell us
what
category we
are working
in.

The initial screen shows us the


casting alloy that was last used. To
select a different alloy, we can
click the From DB button.
This allows us to
select an alloy from
the SOLIDCast
database.
Now the selected alloy appears as
the alloy we will use to model our
casting.
The Cooling Curve
tab shows the
cooling and
shrinkage curves for
the alloy.
The Mold Materials tab
shows a list of mold
materials (sand, sleeves,
chills, etc.) and allows us
to select more from the
database.
The HT Coefficients tab allows us to
specify heat transfer coefficients at
the outer surface of the mold and,
optionally, between different
materials within the mold.
The Iron Calculation tab allows us to
calculate and set the properties of
ductile or grey iron, as well as
calculate required riser sizes for iron
castings.
The Other tab is where we specify
the ambient temperature of the
foundry and the pouring time (fill
time) for the mold.
At this point, we have selected the casting
alloy, mold material and initial conditions for
our casting simulation. Now its time to import
the casting shape.
Importing
the
Casting
Shape
To import 3D shapes or
create 3D shapes, we
click the Add Shape
icon on the Tool Bar.

This opens the Add


Shape window. Note
that the default Shape
Type is STL File.
To select an STL file to
import, we click the File
button
This allows us to
navigate to an STL file,
select it and click Open.
Now we click the Add
Shape button to bring
in the STL shape
The STL shape now appears in
the model window. We can click
the Close button if there are no
more shapes to add.
Some Comments about STL Files
STL files can be in one of two formats: Binary or ASCII
(text).

SOLIDCast requires that STL files be in binary format.


If you are having trouble loading an STL file, this may
be because it is in ASCII (Text) format. There is a
function on the SOLIDCast Tools menu which will
convert an ASCII STL file to binary format.

STL files generally are in either inches or mm.


SOLIDCast can convert inches to mm or mm to inches
when loading the shape. If you dont know which
units the file is in, you can measure the shape in
SOLIDCast by using the coordinate display at the
bottom of the screen when in an orthogonal view
Coordinate display: This shows the
coordinates to which the mouse is
currently pointing
Some Comments about STL Files
If the shape is too large or too small, delete it and re-
import it with the correct units specified

This is where you specify


the units BEFORE adding
the STL shape.
Some Comments about STL Files
STL files consist of small triangles. It is best to keep
the maximum number of triangles in a single
SOLIDCast model to less than 300K 400K.

The number of triangles in a casting shape can be


controlled by specifying the surface tolerance when
generating the STL file in the CAD system. Use
coarse settings for most models.

You can estimate the number of triangles in a binary


STL file with the following rule of thumb:

1 MB File Size = 20,000 Triangles


Impeller Model in CAD System

Saved with Fine Tolerance: 104,612 Saved with Coarse Tolerance: 29,942
Triangles Triangles
Back to
our
Casting
Model
After closing the Add Shape window, we
can control our view of the model by using
the viewing controls on the Tool Bar.
Select Zoom Full to enlarge the model
image
so that it now occupies most of the
screen.
Note that by default we are in the XZ view.
We can select the YZ View to see a side
view.
The XY View shows a top down view looking
from above.
By selecting the Free Rotating Isometric View we can
rotate the model by holding down the left mouse button
and moving the mouse.
Creating
the Mesh
Before we run a simulation, we need to create a Mesh. This
is done from the Model menu by selecting Create Mesh.
Here we enter the mesh parameters and then click OK.
The system generates the mesh. First the casting model is
meshed
layer by layer.
And then the mold around the casting is meshed (if you
have specified mold material as part of the meshing
operation).
When meshing is complete, you will see a Mesh entry on
the Project Tree.
Some Comments About Meshing
The more elements (Nodes) in a mesh, the longer the
simulation will take to run.

You can specify either the Node Size or the Number of


Nodes.

Typically for a naked casting simulation, the number


of nodes would be 1 2 million.

Typically for a full model with gates and risers, the


number of nodes would be 3 6 million. For complex
castings, the number of nodes might be 8 12
million.
Running
the
Simulatio
n
After meshing, select the Mesh entry on the Project Tree so
that it is highlighted.
From the Mesh menu, pick Start Simulation.
In the Start Simulation window, pick Run Sim.
The simulation will begin running.
The simulation will complete when the casting is 100%
solid.
Note that when the simulation is complete, there is a
Simulation entry on the Project Tree.
We can open the simulation by double-clicking the
Simulation entry.
Analyzing the
Casting Using the
Riser Design
Wizard
Basics of Riser Design

Chvorinovs Rule:
t = B (V/A)2

t = Time to complete solidification


B = Mold Constant
V = Volume of a section of the casting
A = Surface area of the same section of the
casting
Basics of Riser Design

(V/A) is referred to as
the Casting
Modulus
Casting sections with
low modulus solidify
Casting sections
first. with
high modulus solidify
last.
Basics of Riser Design

Shapes with high Shapes with


Modulus low Modulus
Basics of Riser Design
Directional
Solidification

Increasing
Modulus

Lowest Modulus Highest Modulus


Basics of Riser Design

Primary Rules:
1. The riser should have a higher
modulus than the part of the
casting its attached to.
2. The riser must have sufficient
volume to
feed the contraction which
occurs during cooling and
solidification.
We begin by selecting Riser Design Wizard from the
Simulation menu.
We can modify the Sensitivity setting for either heavy or
light section castings, then click the Next button.
The Wizard has identified 3 Feed Areas (zones) within this
casting.
To visualize Zone 1, we select it and also select Plot Feed
Area, then click Next.
This allows us to select the Type of plot. Generally, an Iso-
Surface plot is most useful.
Maximum Modulus
(inches)

This is the plot window. It displays the Minimum and


Maximum values of Modulus in zone 1.
This shows the area of the casting identified as Zone 1.
By changing the view we can see more clearly where this is
located.
From the Windows Task Bar we bring the Wizard back up.
Now, if we plot a value just below the maximum, we can
see where the area of highest Modulus is in zone 1.
This indicates the last area to solidify and is the area where
we need to attach the riser contacts, as closely as possible.
By clicking Back, we get to this window. Now select
Design Riser to perform the riser calculations for zone 1.
This window displays the maximum Modulus and the volume of
zone 1. You can select the Sleeve Type and then calculate the
required riser size in various ways.
Here we have selected an Insulating Sleeve and specified a H:D
ratio of 2.5 for the riser. To calculate the size, we click the lower-
right calculation button.
The minimum diameter and height to satisfy the Modulus
requirement are displayed. However, note that a message has
appeared indicating that a riser of this size would not have
enough volume. We can either user two risers for this zone, or we
can try a larger riser.
Actual vs.
required
volume

Actual
Modulus of
given riser

Here we have entered a riser size of 2D x 5H. We click the


lower left calculation button and find that this risers satisfies both
the Modulus and Volume requirements.
Now we click the Back button and select zone 2.
Now we plot the location of zone 2.
This plot shows the location of zone 2.
As before, we plot a value which is just below the maximum
Modulus on zone 2.
And again we have an indication as to where riser attachment
points should be considered (the area of zone 2 which has the
highest Modulus).
Now we go back and select the option to Design Riser.
Again we specify an Insulating Sleeve and a H:D ratio of 2.5.
Again, the riser sized for the Modulus does not have enough
Volume to feed the casting. This means we should either enter
larger dimensions or use two risers to satisfy the Volume
requirement.
Finally we select zone 3 and ask the system to show this area.
This plot shows zone 3 of the casting.
Now we go back and ask the system to design the riser for zone 3.
Again we specify an Insulating Sleeve and a H:D ratio of 2.5.
This time, the riser which is sized per the Modulus requirement is
more than adequate to supply the casting volume.
Example 2

Naked Casting
Simulation:
Ductile Iron Casting
Iron Casting Simulation
The objective in this exercise is to determine the
properties of the cast iron so that we can calculate
the required size of the riser and contact.
Cast iron differs from steel in that it undergoes an
expansion phase as graphite precipitates during
solidification
We need to know the Modulus of the casting, its
chemistry and temperature and the rigidity of the
mold as well as the quality of the iron in order to know
when expansion will begin and how much contraction
and subsequent expansion of the iron there will be.
By running a simulation of the naked casting we can
determine the casting Modulus
Knowing this information and the casting weight, we
can determine a correct riser design for the casting.
Iron Castings General Design Rules
Risers should be "hot", meaning that gates should be
connected to risers in order to ensure that they are
filled with hot metal. If this is physically impossible
given the arrangement of the castings in the mold,
then exothermic sleeves should be used to prevent
"cold" risers.

Risers should be of a shape which encourages piping,


which generally means rather short and fat (perhaps
a 1.5:1 height:diameter ratio) with a flat top, so that
the top center of the riser stays hot, resulting in a hot,
weak skin which is easily punctured as liquid
contraction occurs.
Iron Castings General Design Rules
(Contd)
Inlet gates attached to the casting or riser should be
thin (5:1 aspect ratio) so that they will solidify quite
early. If this is not done, the gating system will allow
atmospheric pressure to be maintained within the
casting/riser system as the liquid metal is cooling,
thus keeping the metal forced against the riser
surfaces and allowing a relatively strong skin to form
which will be difficult to puncture as is necessary to
initiate piping.

Only one riser must be applied to each feed zone. If


multiple risers are attached to the same feed zone,
then invariably one riser will pipe and the remaining
ones won't (again due to pressure considerations).

The tops of the risers must be above the top of the


As before, we begin with the starting screen of SOLIDCast.
From the menu, we select File New Model
And enter a new Project Name, then click OK.
This time, rather than importing an STL file we will import a
Component File, which is a special type of file that can be created
by SOLIDCast for storing a complete model or components of a
model. In this case, the base casting shape was in STL format but
the model was a machined model with holes and machined
surfaces, so shapes were added in SOLIDCast to add the machine
stock back to the model. Therefore, we are importing this
complete model with the added shapes.
We specify that this is a SOLIDCast Component File.
We navigate to the file, select it and click Open.
The system allows us to specify an offset in the X, Y and Z
directions. Here we will take the default (0,0,0) offset.
The casting model now appears. Note that it is colored red
because it is selected for editing. We can un-select it by double-
clicking with the mouse in the clear space around the model.
Now the model appears in normal Casting color.
By selecting the Free Rotating Isometric View from the tool bar,
we can rotate it to any angle.
We can open the Materials List to check the materials used in this
model.
The iron selected is a generic ductile iron from the SOLIDCast
database, with generic properties. This is usually a good
starting point.
These are the cooling and volume change curves of the generic
iron. They will change later after running the simulation and
recalculating.
This shows the list of Mold Materials that were in the imported
model. We will use only the Silica Sand.
Internal Heat Transfer Coefficients are turned off, we are only
specifying an external HTC. This is typical for sand castings.
Finally, we see the ambient temperature and pouring time. The
pouring time is not typically used in a naked casting simulation.
Now we select Model Create Mesh from the menu.
Here we specify 2 million nodes (elements), with the casting
surrounded by a minimum of 1 of Silica Sand mold material in all
directions.
The casting mesh is generated first
followed by the mold.
We then select the Mesh on the Project Tree and pick Mesh from
the menu
and click on Start Simulation.
To start, we just click the Run Sim button.
The simulation begins running
and when 100% solid is reached, the simulation will be finished.
Note that there is now a Simulation entry on the Project Tree.
If we double-click on this entry, the simulation opens with a
Simulation Status window. Click the Close button.
The first item of information we need is the maximum Casting
Modulus. To get this, from the menu select Simulation Riser
Design Wizard.
The starting window of the Riser Design Wizard appears.
Select the option to Calculate and Display Casting Modulus,
then click Next.
Click Next again.
In this window, the Maximum Casting Modulus is displayed as
about 0.705. This value is in inches. Make a note of this value.
Now we need the casting weight. Close the Riser Design Wizard
and select Mesh on the Project Tree.
From the Mesh menu, select Weights.
This displays the weight of the casting, which is 78.2 pounds.
Make a note of this and click the Close button.
Now select the Model entry on the Project Tree.
From the Model menu, select Materials List.
When the Materials List opens, click the Iron Calculation tab.
Now we enter the Carbon %, Silicon % and Phosphorus% of the
iron. From the Wizard we know the Modulus is 0.705. The
Temperature in Mold is the bulk temperature of the iron in the
mold. We estimate this as 75F less than the pouring
temperature. The slider bars for Metallurgical Quality and Mold
Rigidity may be adjusted for foundry conditions. In addition, we
select the Type of iron.
Press the Calculate Iron Properties button. This calculates the
correct solidification and contraction/expansion curves for this
casting as shown.
Now, to calculate a riser for this casting, click the Riser Design
button.
Here we enter the Weight of the casting, as well
as select various options to design the riser.
Now click the Calculate button.
The riser diameter and height are calculated as
well as the neck (contact) size. This is assuming
that there is only one riser for the casting.
To determine the number of required risers, we
will plot the Neck Modulus on the casting
simulation. The Neck Modulus can also be
referred to as the Transfer Modulus.
Transfer Modulus
This is the Modulus value at which contraction stops
and expansion of the iron begins.
Generally, we want the riser neck to freeze at the
point when expansion begins so that expansion
pressure is contained within the casting.
The Transfer Modulus can also be used to determine
whether there are multiple Feed Zones within a
casting, or whether the entire casting is a single Feed
Zone.

Important Design Rule: ONLY ONE RISER per FEED


ZONE
In every case, each
casting has two risers
and only one has
piped.
Two risers, only one
has piped.
To plot the Transfer Modulus, we close the Materials List and
select Simulation on the Project Tree.
From the Simulation menu, we select Plot Iso Surface.
Click the arrow next to the Data Type.
From the list, select Custom-High as the Type to plot. (The Riser
Design Wizard placed Modulus data into the Custom-High data
type.)
Custom-High is selected.
Now enter the Transfer Modulus (0.373) as the Value to Plot and
click OK.
This plot shows that the entire casting is a single feed zone, i.e.,
there is only one continuous zone in the casting. This means
that a single riser is sufficient to feed this casting.
Some Additional Rules for Rigging Iron Casting
The tops of the risers should be above the top of the casting, by
at least the minimum casting thickness.
A

Suggested runner and riser configuration.


t = A/5

Sizing gates to ensure that they solidify earlier than the casting.
t = A/3
Suggested Runner Sizing
Model of Completed Design

This shows the final complete mold design for production of the
casting, with one riser per casting (in this design, the risers are
sleeved).
Running a Full
Simulation

Casting with Gating &


Risers
Full Casting Simulations
In the previous naked casting simulations, we have
assumed that the liquid metal is already in the mold
at uniform temperature. For full simulations, we
normally simulate the liquid metal filling the mold
from the pouring point.

For mold filling, we have two options:

SOLIDCast Simplified Filling: This runs faster but


provides only an estimate of temperature
distribution during filling, and is less accurate.
FLOWCast Filling: This takes more time but is true
flow modeling so temperature, velocity, pressure
and momentum are all modeled. This is the most
accurate way to simulate mold filling.
Full Casting Simulations
When is it important to use FLOWCast? We suggest
using FLOWCast for ALL simulations for maximum
accuracy, but filling is less critical for large heavy-
section castings and more critical for smaller, light-
section castings with complex gating systems.

How is mold filling simulation accomplished? You


need two things:

A shape made of Fill Material in contact with the


casting model where the liquid metal is entering
the model (usually the top of the sprue)

A Fill Time entered in the Other section of the


Materials List
Full Casting Simulations
When a full casting simulation is complete, we can
plot a variety of useful output:

Critical Fraction Solid Time, or the time for the


metal to reach the point at which feed metal can
no longer flow. This allows us to look at the
pattern of solidification and identify hot spots
Material Density, which is a prediction of areas of
macro shrinkage due to lack of feeding
FCC Criterion, which is a prediction of dispersed
micro porosity in areas of stagnant solidification

If using FLOWCast for filling, we can also look for


areas of excessive velocity which might result in oxide
formation, as well as areas where premature cooling
might result in misrun or cold laps.
Full Casting Simulations
There are a variety of Plot Types in SOLIDCast:

Iso-Surface Plots, which show a 3D shape inside a


transparent casting
Cut Plane Plots, which plot data on a 2D plane that
can be moved through the casting
CastPic Plots, which show a 3D image of the
casting with data mapped onto the surface
QuickPlot (from the Tools menu) which is the
fastest way to cycle through various plot levels
Full Casting Simulations
There are also several types of movies or videos that
can be created from SOLIDCast and FLOWCast:

Iso-Surface Movies, which show a changing 3D


shape inside a transparent casting
Cut Plane Movies, which show changing data on a
2D plane that cut through the casting
CastPic Movies, which show a 3D image of the
casting with changing data mapped onto the
surface
CastScan Movies which show multiple data levels
on multiple, multi-colored surfaces within the
casting
Filling Movies generated by FLOWCast showing
temperature, velocity, fill time or fill temperature
Example 3

Full Simulation:
Stainless Steel
Sand Casting
As before, we start SOLIDCast with a blank screen.
We select File New Model from the menu.
The system asks us to enter a new Project Name.
Now we have a new project started. Click the Add Shape button
on the tool bar.
We will add an STL shape. Click the File button.
Select the STL file and then click Open.
Click the Add Shape button.
The casting shape appears. Click the Close button in the Add
Shape window.
The Add Shape window closes.
From the tool bar, select Zoom Full.
Again from the tool bar, select the Free Rotating Isometric View.
This allows you to rotate the model. We can see that this is a
complete model with castings, risers and gating.
Now to select the materials, select Model Materials List.
On the Casting Material window, click From DB
The alloy for this casting is 316 stainless steel. Select this alloy
from the database list, and click Use This Casting Material.
The alloy is now 316 SS.
We can set the Pouring Temperature by changing the Initial
Temperature entry.
This shows the cooling and shrinkage (contraction) curves.
Under Mold Materials we already have Silica Sand.
Internal HT Coefficients are turned off.
Finally, on the Other tab we set the pouring time, which is 10
seconds.
Now, on order to perform a filling simulation we need a shape of
Fill Material which contacts the top of the sprue.
Click the Add Shapes button on the tool bar.
Under Shape Type, select Solid Cylinder Z. This is a cylinder
whose axis is vertical.
Now a Solid Cylinder Z is selected.
Under Material, select Fill Material as the type of material.
We need to enter the coordinates at the top center of the sprue.
This will be the bottom center of the Fill Material shape.
By clicking with the mouse on the top center of the sprue shape,
the coordinates are automatically filled in for us.
Now we enter a length (thickness) and a radius. The thickness
MUST be more than the Node Size, and the radius should define a
circle which is somewhat larger than the incoming metal stream.
Now click Add Shape and the Fill Material shape appears.
We can take advantage of the fact that this model is perfectly
symmetrical about the center line. We can add a Plane of
Symmetry so that only one half of the model needs to be
simulated; this will cut the simulation time in half.
To do this, we select Model Options
The tab at upper left shows that we are defining Planes of
Symmetry.
Select a Lower X Plane of Symmetry, at default location 0.
Now click Apply and then OK.
A Plane of Symmetry is now active.
Now we can mesh the model. Select Model Create Mesh
Enter the Mesh Parameters and click OK
On the first pass, the casting model is meshed. Note that only
one-half of the model is actually meshed due to the Plane of
Symmetry.
On the second pass, the mold is meshed.
When meshing is finished, we select Mesh Start Simulation
Note that, when Fill Material is included in the model, we have a
choice of Fill Algorithms. We will select FLOWCast Full.
Now we click Run Sim to start the simulation.
FLOWCast now starts running a flow model to
simulate mold filling, start at the Fill Materials.
By selecting the Filling tab, we can select some
parameters as to how data is stored for later
viewing or video creation.
In this example, we are saving Full data every
10%, and temperature data every 0.4%.
Now we return to the Display tab.
At the Display selection at the top of the screen,
we can choose to display metal velocity rather
than temperature.
When temperature is displayed, we can choose to
display the range from pouring down to liquidus
(Liq-Max)
Or from pouring down to solidus (Sol-Max)
Filling continues until the mold is 100% full.
After filling simulation, the cooling and solidification of the casting is
simulated by SOLIDCast.
When the solidification simulation is complete, the system returns
to the SOLIDCast screen.
We can turn off the display of the Plane of Symmetry by selecting
Show Planes of Symmetry and un-checking this selection.
The Plane of Symmetry is no longer shown.
Now we open the simulation by double-clicking the Simulation
entry on the Project Tree.
With a Plane of Symmetry, only half of the model was simulated.
By selecting Simulation Mirror Results the simulation results are
mirrored into the other half so that the entire model can be
plotted.
This selection display a warning message. Click OK to proceed.
Now we can plot the simulation result data. We start by selecting
Simulation Plot Iso Surface.
Under Data Type we select Critical Fraction Solid Time.
The Max and Min values are shown.
We start by plotting a value close to the Max.
This shows the area that is hotter than CFS at 13 minutes. This
metal is liquid and can flow. Metal colder than this cannot flow.
Now we select a lower number to plot.
This shows the liquid metal at 9 minutes. We are stepping
backward in time to see the progression of solidification as
measured by Critical Fraction Solid Time.
Again, a lower number is entered.
The liquid metal at 6 minutes is displayed. What we are looking
for is isolated hot spots where shrinkage porosity may form.
A value of 3 minutes is entered.
These are all the areas that were liquid at 3 minutes.
2 minutes is entered.
These areas were liquid at 2 minutes.
An alternate method of viewing progressive solidification is to use
the Tools QuickPlot function.
Select the simulation and click Start Plotting
By default, a temperature plot is displayed.
We select Critical Fraction Solid Time as the Data Type.
Critical Fraction Solid Time is displayed.
We select Show areas below Min as transparent.
Now, by moving the Min slider bar
we can easily plot Critical Fraction Solid at various values
which gives us an easy way to watch the progressive
solidification of the casting.
When were done with this plot, we click the Quit button.
Now we select Plot Iso-Surface again
and this time select Material Density. This is an indicator of
shrinkage (macroporosity) based on lack of feeding in isolated hot
spots.
A value of 0.99 is typical. This shows areas which have 1% void
or worse, which are usually considered severe.
Now we can see areas of expected shrinkage porosity in the
casting.
Using the XZ View
the YZ View
or the XY View allows us to locate the predicted defects exactly.
Another type of plot is the CastPic Plot
Again we select Critical Fraction Solid Time as the Data type.
Click OK to plot the default Max and Min.
This gives a picture of progressive solidification in the casting.
By lowering the Max plot value and selecting Plot Out of Range
Data
we can more clearly differentiate areas that solidified first and
last.
Here we are plotting Material Density and specifying a Cut Plane
in the Z direction at Z = 3.8
This shows a 3D image of the casting where the shrinkage defects
are clearly visible as dark blue areas.
By changing the location of the Cut Plane
we can show shrinkage indications in different areas, still as a
3D image.
Priority Numbers

What they are and


how theyre used
Priority Numbers control what
happens in a SOLIDCast when
two solid shapes made of
different materials overlap.

Each shape in a SOLIDCast


model has a Priority Number
assigned to it. These numbers
range from 1 to 10.
When two solid shapes of
different material overlap (i.e.,
intersect) the shape with the
lowest Priority Number will be
meshed in the overlap region.

Overlap Region
If two shapes do not overlap,
the Priority Numbers dont
matter.

If two shapes overlap and they


are the same material, the
Priority Numbers dont matter.
Here we have a solid plate
made of Casting Material
and a solid cylinder made
of Silica Sand. These solid
shapes overlap, so in this
case the Priority Numbers
are important.
How do we see the
Priority Numbers for
these shapes? On the
Toolbar, click the
Select Shape tool,
then click on one of the
shapes. You will see
the shape turn red,
which means that it is
selected (in this case
thats the cylinder).
Now from the menu,
select Edit Edit
Selected Shape(s).
For this
shape, we
see that the
Priority
Number is 5.
Now we select the
plate.
Again, from the menu
select Edit Edit
Selected Shape(s).
And for the
plate, we
see that the
Priority
Number is
also 5.
This means that we
have two solid shapes,
made of different
material, which overlap
and which have the
same Priority Number.
This causes a conflict.

The conflict shows up


when we mesh the
model. From the
menu, select Model
Create Mesh.
We enter the mesh
parameters and click OK.
When the mesh reaches the first point (the first node) where the
conflict occurs, the meshing operation stops and an error message
is displayed. Also, the location of the conflict is shown with a blue-
colored node.
Now by editing, we
change the Priority
Number of the
cylinder from 5 to 4.
Now when we mesh the model, the cylinder is meshed as a solid
shape and the plate material is removed from the overlap region.
This is because the Priority Number of the cylinder (4) is lower than
the Priority Number of the plate (5).
Now lets change the
Priority Number of the
cylinder to 6 and then
remesh the model.
Now when we mesh the model, the plate is meshed as a solid
shape and the cylinder material is removed from the overlap
region. This is because the Priority Number of the cylinder (6) is
higher than the Priority Number of the plate (5).
Example 4

Full Simulation:
Investment Casting
As before, we start SOLIDCast with a new project.
Select File New Model
Enter 1500A01 as the Project Name and click OK.
For this session we will import a Component File. Select Model
Import and click on SOLIDCast 5.x Component File.
The Component File name is 1500A01. Select it and click Open.
Accept the default (0,0,0) offset by clicking OK.
The model appears. It is red because it is selected.
Double-click next to the model to un-select it.
With the Free Rotating Isometric View we can rotate the model.
To create a shell around this model, we need an STL file which
contains the model shape.

We can create an STL file from our model by using the Tools menu.
Select Tools STL from Model
Select the model in the window (in this project there is only one
model) and click Create STL File.
Enter a name for the STL file and click Create STL File.
Now select Tools Create Shell
Around STL Shape.
Navigate to the STL file which was just created, select it and click
Open.
Now we enter the shell thickness, the surface quality, open or
closed top and the name of the STL file which will contain the
shell shape.
The program runs Pass 1
and then Pass 2.
and then displays the number of triangles in the STL file just
created.
Now from the Add Shape button we select STL file and click the
File button.
Navigate to the STL file containing the shell, select it and click
Open.
Note we select Invest Shell as the Material Type, and set the
Priority Number to 8.
Now click Add Shape.
The shell appears around the casting. Click the Close button.
Now we need to add a Solid Cylinder Z for the Fill Material.
Click on the top center of the pour cup to set X, Y and Z. Select
Fill Material as the Material Type. Note that we set the Priority
Number to 4. Click Add Shape.
Note that if we select Show Planes of Symmetry, this model
already has a Plane of Symmetry set as a Lower-X Plane at X=0.
Now we mesh the model. Select Model Create Mesh.
Note that for Mold Type we now select None. This is because the
mold (the shell) is already part of the model.
The model is meshed.
After we mesh the model, we need to run
the View Factor Calculation to take into
account radiant heat exchange between
different surfaces of the shell.

On the Project Tree, select the Mesh. Then from the menu select
Mesh View Factor Calculation.
The View Factor Calculation runs.
Now we start the simulation by selecting Mesh Start Simulation.
Select FLOWCast Full as the Fill Algorithm, then click Run Sim.
The simulation will start
running.
When the simulation is complete, select the Simulation on the
Project Tree, then select Simulation Mirror Results.
Select OK to mirror the simulation result data on both sides of the
Plane of Symmetry.
Note that our view shows the shell. To view the cast material,
select Show Show Report.
Now the casting and gating are displayed.
To view the pattern of solidification, select Simulation CastPic
Plot.
Select Critical Fraction Solid Time as the Data Type, and specify a
Y Cut Plane at 0 to see the sectioned center plane of the casting.
This shows the pattern
of solidification. Note
that the last point to
solidify is in the center
of the casting. This is
not desirable; the last
point of solidification
should be in the gating
or risers, not in the
casting.
Now we plot the predicted shrinkage. From the menu select
Simulation Plot Iso Surface.
Select Material Density as the Data Type, and enter 0.99 as the
value to plot.
This shows an X-ray view of predicted shrinkage. There is severe
shrinkage at the top center of the casting. This gating system
needs to be redesigned.
Example 5

Full Simulation:
Permanent Mold Tilt
Pour Casting
As before, we start SOLIDCast with a new project.
Select File New Model to start a project.
SOLIDCast will ask for a Project Name. Here we enter 6064
(the part number) and click OK.
Now we have a blank model space in Project 6064.
Lets begin by selecting the casting alloy and mold materials.
Select Model Materials List.
The Casting Material will be the first selection. Click From
DB to open the Casting Material Database.
In the database we select Al 356.0 as the casting alloy. Click
Use This Casting Material.
Click Yes to confirm that this is the casting alloy.
The alloy properties are shown.
Lets change the Initial Temperature (the pouring
temperature) to 1360 F.
These are the cooling and shrinkage curves. We note that
the Niyama Point is set a 35% solid; it should be 99% for this
alloy. Click Set Niyama Pt to change this
Move the mouse to 99% Solid and click one time to set the
Niyama Point.
Now select the Mold Materials tab. Our mold is steel, so we
want this to show up on the list. Click the From DB button.
Select Steel from the list and click Add to Materials List.
Click Yes to confirm.
Now, on the list window click Steel.
Its properties are shown. The Initial Temperature is 400F.
Generally, for permanent mold simulations we may want to
set the temperature close to the assumed operating
To do this, we just type 850 in the Initial Temp field.
Now we want to set Internal Heat Transfer Coefficients. This
is important in permanent mold because the mold and alloy
have high thermal conductivity and the surfaces between
First, click the selection which says Use Internal Heat
Transfer Coefficients.
Now, between Casting and Riser (which is not a real surface)
we enter a high number like 10000.
Between Casting Material and Ambient we enter 1.5, which
takes into account external radiation and convection loss.
Between Casting Material and Steel we enter 200, which
accounts for the coating on the casting surface of the mold.
Between Riser Material and Casting Material weve already
set the HTC.
Between Riser Material and Ambient we set the HTC to 1.5.
Between Riser Material and Steel we set the HTC to 125,
which reflects a heavier mold coating on the riser surfaces.
Between Ambient and Casting Material weve already set the
HTC.
Between Ambient and Riser Material weve already set the
HTC.
Between Ambient and Steel we set a HTC of 8, which
represents heat loss due to radiation and convection at the
outer surface of the mold.
Between Steel and Casting Material weve already set the
HTC.
Between Steel and Riser Material weve already set the HTC.
Between Steel and Ambient weve already set the HTC.
Now we click the Other tab and set the Ambient Temperature
(in this case 90F) and the Pour Time, which in this case
represents a 15 second tilt time.
Now lets add the shapes to the model. Click Add Shape on
the Toolbar.
This opens the Add Shape window. STL file is the default
shape type.
Click the File button to start browsing for the STL files to
import.
Here we select the casting shape and click Open.
Set the Material type to Casting Material and the Priority to 5.
Click Add Shape and the casting appears.
Now click the File button again, select the riser file and click
Open.
Set the Material type to Riser Material and the Priority to 6.
Click Add Shape and the risers appear.
Now click the File button again, select the mold file and click
Open.
Set the Material type to Steel and the Priority to 7.
Click Add Shape and the mold appears. (Note: The mold
shape in this case is a solid block with no cavity. The Priority
numbers will ensure that the casting and riser shapes will
Now click the File button again, select the Fill Material file and
click Open.
Set the Material type to Fill Material and the Priority to 4.
Click Add Shape and the Fill Material shapes appear.
Now we have the complete model loaded.
Click the Zoom button on the Toolbar and select Zoom Full.
The model enlarges on the screen.
Now click the Free Rotating Isometric View button.
You can rotate the model by holding down the left mouse
button and moving the mouse cursor across the screen.
Now we want to set the tilt pour parameters. Select Model
Options from the menu.
Click the Tilt Pour tab.
This window controls the tilt pour direction and start/stop
angles.
Click Tilt pour enabled
The Start angle should be set to 270, the Stop angle to 0, and
Rotate about X should be selected. Click Apply and then
OK.
Now we will mesh the model. SOLIDCast allows us to use a
Coarse mesh to simulate initial cycles to heat up the mold,
and then a Fine mesh to simulate the final steady-state
cycle. Select Model Create Mesh from the menu.
Here weve entered the name Coarse Mesh and specified
2.5 million nodes. Note that None is selected for Mold Type
because the mold is already part of the model.
The coarse mesh is created.
Note that on the Project Tree we have a Coarse Mesh entry.
Now lets create the fine mesh. Select Model Create Mesh
again from the menu.
Here weve entered the name Fine Mesh and specified 5
million nodes.
The fine mesh is created.
Now we have both coarse and fine mesh on the Project Tree.
Its almost time to start the simulation.
Before we start the simulation, lets make sure that System
and Simulation parameters are set correctly. Select Tools
System Parameters from the menu.
Make sure that Volumetric Calculation Interval is set to 10.
Click OK.
Now click Tools Simulation
Parameters.
Make sure that there is a check next to Reduce Mold/Metal
HT Coefficient at Solidus Point. This causes the system to
simulate the small gap that occurs at the casting surface
when the metal solidifies. Click Apply and then Exit.
Now were really ready to start the simulation.
On the Project Tree, select and highlight the fine mesh.
From the menu, select Mesh Start Simulation.
The Start Simulation window appears.
For Simulation Type, select Permanent Mold. For Fill Algorithm, select FLOWCast Full.
For Warm-up Mesh, Select Coarse Mesh. For Warmup Fill Algorithm, select FLOWCast
Full also. For Auto-cycle count, enter 3. This indicates that the system will run three
total cycles, two with the coarse mesh (to heat the mold to steady-state condition)
and the final with the fine mesh. The Mold Open Time is set to 30 seconds; this
indicates the amount of time the mold stays open after one casting is ejected before
the next one is poured. After making all these selections, click Run Sim.
The first filling simulation runs in FLOWCast using the coarse
mesh.
The first solidification simulation runs in SOLIDCast, also using the
coarse mesh.
The second filling simulation runs in FLOWCast, again using
the coarse mesh.
The second solidification simulation runs in SOLIDCast, also using the
coarse mesh.
The third filling simulation runs in FLOWCast using the fine
mesh.
The third and final solidification simulation runs in SOLIDCast using
the fine mesh.
Once all simulations are complete, the system returns to the
Model View.
Double-click the Simulation entry on the Project Tree to
starting viewing results. The Simulation Status window
appears. Click the Close button.
From the menu, select Show Show Report.
This hides all mold materials and shows only Casting and
Riser material.
By pressing the + key we can enlarge the image.
One way to plot results is by using Iso-Surfaces. From the
menu, select Simulation Plot Iso Surface.
Under Select Data Type pick Critical Fraction Solid Time.
You can also select a color for the Iso-Surface by clicking
Color Here we are selecting yellow as the color.
Note the Min and Max values for Critical Fraction Solid Time
at the right. Lets enter a value of 1 under Plot This Value,
which is about half way between. Now click OK.
This shows the metal that was above the CFS point
(essentially, liquid metal) at 1 minute after pouring.
From the menu, select Simulation Plot Iso Surface again.
This time well plot 0.75 minutes.
And this shows the metal which was above CFS at 0.75
minutes after pour. By plotting different values we can see
how the casting solidified.
A different and easier way to watch the casting solidify is to
select Tools QuickPlot from the menu.
In the window, select the Simulation you want to plot and
click Start Plotting.
The model is shown initially with colors indicating
temperature.
Lets change the View to XZ.
This shows an orthogonal XZ view of the casting and risers.
By clicking the L-R-U-D buttons we can slightly change the
view. Here we have clicked R three times and D three times.
Now lets select Critical Fraction Solid as the Data Type.
Finally, under Display Type select Show areas below Min as
transparent
Now by moving the Min slider bar or by clicking the arrows on
the sides of the bar, we can get an animated picture of the
progressive solidification of the casting and risers.
Here weve slid the bar a little further to the right
and now we see clearly that an isolated hot spot has
formed in the center of the casting. This usually indicates the
potential for shrinkage porosity. Click Quit to exit from
To predict the potential for macroporosity, select Simulation
Plot Iso Surface from the menu and select Material Density
as the Data Type.
Here we have entered 0.995 as the value to plot.
This indicates a potential for shrinkage porosity in the
casting, at the location of the central hot spot.
Process Optimization
Using OPTICast
Weve seen solidification analysis, mold
filling and fluid dynamics. Whats left? We
might be able to reduce the size of the
risers and still produce a sound casting,
thus improving yield. This can be done by
testing a few smaller riser designs and
running new simulations or we could
use the OPTICast module and have the
system automatically find the best riser
design which produces a sound casting
while maximizing yield.
How do we know that
optimum process designs are
actually being achieved?
What do we mean by
OPTIMUM?

The highest quality casting at the lowest


cost.
The most efficient way to produce a
casting.
The current process
Initial
Design

Foundry Engineer

Process
Revised
Simulation
Design
System

Simulation Results

Not
Acceptable? Acceptable?
Decide
Done What to
Change

Foundry Engineer
A new paradigm
Initial
Design

Foundry Engineer

Process
Revised
Simulation
Design
System

Simulation Results

Not
Acceptable? Acceptable?
Decide
Done What to
Optimization
Change
Engine
The Layered System Approach

Optimizing
Engine

Casting Process
Simulator

Computer Operating System and Hardware


What is Optimization?

Optimization is a mathematical method for finding the best


solution to a given problem.

Automates the search for a design solution


Frees the engineers time
Provides a more repeatable design process
Steps Required for Optimization

1) Develop an Initial Design.


2) Define three types of elements:

Design Variables
Constraints
An Objective Function
3) Launch the Optimization
Design Variables

These are elements that are allowed to vary when the


computer is searching for an optimum process design.
Examples:
Height and diameter of a feeder (riser)
Size of a feature on the casting
Pouring temperature
Shell preheat temperature
One Type of Design Variable Geometric Feature Size
Another Type of Design Variable: Initial Temperature
Constraints
A constraint is some aspect of a design that determines
whether that design is acceptable or not.
Typical Constraints:
Macroporosity Level
Microporosity Level
Yield Percentage
Minimum Cooling Rate
Minimum Thermal Gradient
The Objective Function

The Objective Function is the single result which you are


trying to either maximize or minimize.
Typical Objective Functions:
Maximize Yield Percentage
Minimize Macroporosity Level
Minimize Microporosity Level
Maximize Cooling Rate
Maximize Directional Solidification
The Optimization Process

The Optimization Engine varies each Design Variable within


the Design Space to create a series of process models.
Each design is evaluated as to whether it violates any
Constraint.
Each design is then evaluated to determine if the Objective
Function has been achieved, through the use of convergence
criteria.
How OPTICast Works
Yes/No
Modify the 3D Decide on new
Simulation values for Design Were
Model Variables Constraints
violated?

Was an
optimum
Run a Simulation
value of the
with
Objective
Function
achieved?

Examine
Results No/Yes

DONE
The Optimization Engine evaluates Response Surfaces.
Requirements of the Modeling System for
Application of Optimization

Must be able to automatically modify geometry


Must be able to handle shape interference
Must be able to automatically remesh each design
Must be able to process multiple simulations quickly
Optimization allows us to take an initial
process design and, from that design,
find the OPTIMUM design which will
result in maximum part quality and
minimum part cost.
Example: Automotive
Casting Current Design
Current Riser Dimensions:
92 mm Dia. at P/L
175 mm Overall Height
Simulation of current riser shows
adequate size and mass to feed
the casting properly.
Sectional view showing
simulation of current
riser feeding
X-ray view showing
simulation of current
riser feeding
Question:
Can the weight of the riser be
reduced, and yet still provide
adequate feeding to the casting?
We can answer this question
using mathematical optimization.
In order to perform optimization on this
riser design, we need to define three
parameters:
Design Variables
Constraints
Objective Function
Design Variables are any
aspects of the design that we
will allow the optimizer to vary
during the optimization run.
Here we have selected the riser
as a Design Variable. Its Height
and Diameter will be allowed to
vary independently.
A Constraint is an output which
determines whether a design is
acceptable.
Here we set Casting Porosity as a
constraint. Porosity is measured by
considering the minimum local
material density in the casting. The
constraint value is set to 1.0, which
indicates no casting porosity allowed.
The Objective Function is a
simulation output which
measures the end result we are
trying to achieve.
For purposes of this optimization, we
define a yield number such that

Casting Weight
Yield =
Casting + Riser Weight

The Objective Function is the


maximization of this number, which
results in minimum riser weight.
Optimization Results
The riser design optimization was complete
after 26 simulations. These were run
completely automatically.
Total processing time was 2 hr. 56 min. on a
1.0 GHz PC.
This chart shows the progressive value of the Yield function over 26
simulations. Its value started at 0.60 and ended at 0.72.
This chart shows simulated porosity in the casting. A value of 1.0
represents a completely sound casting. Final value of 0.9995 is
within allowable limits.
A plot of the vertical scale of the riser. The final riser design is
13.1% taller than the current riser.
A plot of the horizontal scale (diameter) of the riser. The final riser
design is smaller (72%) in diameter than the current riser.
Comparison of current riser vs. optimized
riser design

92 mm Dia. X 175 66 mm Dia. X 198


mm Height. mm Height.
Simulation of the optimized riser
design shows adequate size and
mass to feed the casting properly.
Sectional view showing
simulation of optimized
riser feeding
X-ray view showing
simulation of optimized
riser feeding
Optimized riser shown
with gating
Weight Reduction

Current Riser Weight: 16.03 lbs.


Optimized Riser Weight: 9.39 lbs.
Weight Reduction/Riser: 6.64 lbs.

Weight Reduction/Mold (8-on): 53.1 lbs.


Conclusion of Optimization:
Pour weight per mold can be reduced by 53.1
pounds through redesign of the riser by
optimization
At current production volumes, this results in a
saving of more than $US 100,000 per year (1800
tons of metal saved annually)
Annual Energy Savings: 1,980,000 KWH
Process Design Optimization for:
Stainless Steel Investment Casting

Pour Temperature: 2925F


Shell Preheat: 1800F
Shell Thickness: 0.5
Alloy: CF8M
In this case, we start with Design Iteration
#7, which produced a shrink-free casting.
Wedge shapes, approx. 1.5 wide

This design used


two small wedge
shapes under the
gates to help feed
metal into the
heavy section of
the casting.
Heres the gate
design that will be
optimized by
using OPTICast.
The first step is to select Design Variables.
These are features of the gating that are
allowed to vary in size.
Here weve selected the
horizontal feeder bar as
Design Variable #1.
The pour cup is
selected as Design
Variable #2.

Were specified
that ONLY the
horizontal
dimensions of the
pour cup can vary;
its height stays
constant.
The gate is selected as
Design Variable #3.

The gates height is


held constant, but
its width is allowed
to vary.
The other gate is
linked to the first
gate, which means
that the two gates
will always be the
same shape.
Now we need to apply a Constraint. This is
an OUTPUT VALUE from each simulation
which determines whether the results are
acceptable or not.
In this case, our constraint is that the
casting must be free of shrinkage. Any
design which results in shrinkage in the
casting will be discarded.
We measure
shrinkage as
Material Density.
A value of 1
means a perfectly
sound casting, so
we set the
Constraint Value
to 1.
Finally, we select an Objective Function.
This is an OUTPUT VALUE that we are
trying to either maximize of minimize.
In this case, our objective function will be
to Maximize the Yield. This means that
the maximum yield (i.e., the minimum
amount of poured metal weight) which
produces a shrink-free casting will be
found.
This is done just by
selecting Yield
Maximization from a list of
Objective Functions.
At this point, we start the optimization
running. This is a TOTALLY AUTOMATIC
process. OPTICast will run a series of
simulations, varying the gate design until the
yield is maximized and the casting is shrink-
free.
In effect, the computer is redesigning this
gating system ON ITS OWN, using the rules
and guidelines that we set up.
Now lets look at the Results
Here is the Yield for each The yield increased
of 50 simulation runs. from 38% to 53%.
This chart shows A value of 1.0 means
casting soundness for a sound casting (no
each of 50 simulation shrink).
runs.
This shows the The optimized feeder
horizontal scale factor is 82% of its original
for the feeder. size (horizontally).
This chart shows the The optimized feeder
vertical scale factor is 83% of its original
for the feeder. size (vertically).
This shows the The optimized pour cup
horizontal scale factor is 42% of its original
for the pour cup. size (horizontally).
And finally, this chart The optimized gates
shows the horizontal are 120% of their
scale factor for the original size
gates. (horizontally).
So, how does the optimized design
compare with the original gating design?
Solidification
Pattern

Hot Spots No Hot


Spots

Original Gating Optimized Gating


Shrinkage
Prediction

Shrinkage in No
Casting Shrinkage in
Casting

Original Gating Optimized Gating


Original Gating Optimized Gating

123 Lb. Pour Weight 88.3 Lb. Pour Weight


Final Results
1. Pour weight reduced 34.7 Lbs.
per casting
2. Shrinkage eliminated from
casting
3. Annual savings: $17,000
4. Energy savings: 7,000 KWH/yr