QMT Features: April 2017
Virtual prototyping advances manufacturing
Metals specialist Wall Colmonoy is using advanced simulation tools speed turnaround and enter new markets

Simulation Tools are having a significant impact in the manufacturing industry and virtual prototyping is playing an increasing role in today’s advanced engineering.
One company making the most of this technology is Wall Colmonoy. Based in Pontardawe, South Wales, Wall Colmonoy’s European Headquarters began using ESI ProCAST virtual prototyping software earlier this year, to assist in the design and manufacture of precision cast components – focusing predominately 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.

He says 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.

ProCAST simulation software will benefit Wall Colmonoy in exploring other markets including automotive and aerospace as they typically require more intricate components. Wall Colmonoy looks to add 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.

With 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.
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