It is also an international supplier of exterior vehicle systems. Its Warren Automotive Trim plant, located in Warren, MI, designs and builds the primary injection molding tooling for making parts for Guardian Automotive. More than 120 plastic injection molding machines with tonnage capacities ranging from 100 tons to 3,600 tons, are operating at seven locations throughout North America. Half of its production is decorative trim products and other half is glass applications for the OEM and Tier One markets.
Russ Napp is the Director of Tooling there and has more than 25 years' of experience in the automotive trim business. He and his colleagues have relied on Moldflow simulations performed by CAE Services (Batavia, IL) for the last several years. In fact, last year alone, nearly 20 analytical studies were performed by CAE Services for Napp.
He says that since much of their work is related to decorative parts such as automotive grills, cosmetic issues are important. "Moldflow filling analyses are good predictors of knit line locations. The Moldflow fill, warp, and cool simulations allow us to talk to our customers about appearance expectations prior to building a mold. If knit lines appear, we can demonstrate their locations and discuss alternatives with customers. The simulations help me in the approval process," says Napp.
Recently, Moldflow flow, fill, warp, and cool simulations were used in the design of a chrome grill that fits in front of a car radiator. Napp adds, "Since the part is shiny, any defect in the molded part would appear quite handily through the chrome. So the use of Moldflow to address possible cosmetic issues was crucial. In addition, manifolds for delivering the plastic to the part are quite expensive because they are comprised of many drop features. In terms of processing, grills are quite complicated. If we obtain knit lines in the wrong locations or at places that our customer does not approve, replacing a manifold can be financially devastating costing $50,000 or more. We use Moldflow to avoid that situation and build confidence that our designs will be successful."
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