How one Global Materials Engineering Group is Advancing Manufacturing thanks to Virtual Prototyping

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Simulation Tools are having a significant impact on the manufacturing industry. Companies of all sizes are gaining considerable competitive advantage by leveraging the latest simulation tools to optimise their manufacturing process — from design & manufacturing, research & development, to sales and marketing. With the ability to chain simulation results from various manufacturing processes, and to couple multiple domains of physics — such as fatigue and thermal properties for example — Virtual Prototyping is playing an increasing role in today’s advanced engineering. One company making strides in the world of Virtual Prototyping is global materials engineering group Wall Colmonoy. 

Based in Pontardawe, South Wales, Wall Colmonoy’s European Headquarters began using ESI ProCAST casting simulation software in 2016, to assist in the design and manufacture of precision cast components – focusing predominantly on investment and sand castings. The software aids in rapid prototyping, design and manufacture of precisely engineered castings such as valve seats for oil & gas, valves for homogenisers in the food industry, seaming chucks and rolls for canning industry, neck rings for glass container, and roll end bushes for the steel industry.

Wall Colmonoy’s engineers use ESI ProCAST in conjunction with computer-aided design (CAD) software to streamline the casting process by virtually designing and prototyping before moving into physical manufacturing. This allows for more efficient designs, as engineers can try multiple iterations by virtually simulating shop floor realities – eliminating the need for trial melts and predicting potential manufacturing defects in the cast design to manufacture parts right the first time.

ESI ProCAST is an advanced tool which is the result of more than 25 years of collaboration with major industrial partners and academic institutions around the world.

ESI engineer Les Fletcher, said: “ProCAST is specifically designed to improve casting yield and quality, and it’s been hugely successful in streamlining casting process design for companies such as Wall Colmonoy and Rolls-Royce. More than a thousand companies have adopted ProCAST since it was first developed and every day more and more manufacturers are realising the benefits Virtual Prototyping can bring to the casting process, be it high-pressure die casting, investment casting, shell casting, low pressure die casting, sand casting, gravity die casting, tilt pouring, or the lost foam process.”

“We did a lot of research into the different Virtual Prototyping software companies out there, but for us, ESI came out top as they could provide the best software that met our requirements,” explains Michael Shreeve, Wall Colmonoy’s Process Improvement Engineer.

According to Shreeve, ProCAST helps Wall Colmonoy

pro-actively perfect its designs and optimise and improve its manufacturing process by allowing for a full coupling of thermal-flow-stress analyses and evaluations of all casting processes including defect detection, residual stresses, part distortion, microstructure, and mechanical properties prediction.

Wall Colmonoy’s engineering expertise used together with ESI ProCAST software enables flexibility, process control, speed to manufacture, and ultimately optimal product quality for customers.

Furthermore, ProCAST simulation software will benefit Wall Colmonoy in exploring other markets, including automotive and aerospace as they typically require more intricate components. The materials engineering company looks to add ESI ProCAST to other Wall Colmonoy divisions, including Franklin Bronze Precision Components, located in Franklin, Pennsylvania, USA. Franklin Bronze manufactures investment castings for glass container and many other industrial sectors including food, automotive, drilling & mining, marine, steel, and valve & pump.

In light of increasingly complex part shapes, challenging performance requirements, and the shorter turnaround needed, Virtual Prototyping is proving to be especially effective in casting. More and more metal casting companies, like Wall Colmonoy, are using ProCAST to optimise and more efficiently manufacture metal castings.  Moreover, Virtual Prototyping is allowing Wall Colmonoy to broaden their offerings into other sectors not previously explored.

Source: ESI Group