IDEX Health & Science
IDEX Health & Science specializes in engineered fluidics systems and components. Their Oak Harbor, WA location is where part testing with simulation plays a crucial role in delivering best-in-class products that meet their many customers’ optofluidic needs.
The Challenges & Goals
IDEX Health & Science’s product development department has been partnered with KETIV and using Autodesk Moldflow since 2014 to troubleshoot problems and address manufacturing challenges.
One project, in particular had been designed and was moving to production, but once the part was molded and machined into, there were substantial problems. The machining process uncovered significant voids, which caused leaks during the component’s usage. The product release had to be put on hold until these issues were resolved and production could continue.
IDEX Health & Science had three main goals:
1) Understand the source of the voids and leaks.
2) Adjust the mold for optimal fill.
3) Get product release back on track with minimum spend.
By importing the molded model into the simulation environment provided by Autodesk Moldflow, IDEX Health & Science designers could visualize the cause of the voids and leaks. They uncovered that the sprue placement was the root cause of the problem. They were then able to digitally test how the part would react to alterations of the mold itself. Testing changes on the sprue size and core-pin geometry were found to be ineffective. This led to the decision that filling the part with a critical feature molded in (rather than a secondary machining operation) was necessary. The added molded feature resulted in the gates and sprues needing to be placed in a different location for adequate mold fill.
"In this space that we work in, if we can't solve a problem and get the product released, we may completely lose that opportunity with the customer. So by using simulation to solve these problems, it aids in us keeping our commitments to our customers and their overall satisfaction." Gabe Hill Product Development Engineer, IDEX Health & Science
In a matter of hours, IDEX Health & Science had proof that a more costly change was essential to produce a mold that would achieve the desired outcome. Without simulation, the team would have eventually arrived at the same conclusion through multiple cycles of updating the tool, producing a molding run, testing parts, and identifying the issues. Moldflow allowed them to reduce several months of review cycles to a single month, which permitted them to go to full-scale manufacturing with the product sooner.