Ecodesign Is digital simulation the key to resource-saving glass moulding?
Germany — The production of a glass container starts with the design of the mould. The more precisely the mould is designed and manufactured, the better its quality in terms of glass distribution, visual appearance, strength and weight. The weight in turn plays an important role in energy consumption and resource efficiency.
Gerresheimer has set itself the goal of applying sustainability criteria to 100 percent of new product developments by 2023. Eco-design means that sustainability aspects are included in the development of a product right from the start. For example, glass simulation helps to achieve perfect, uniform glass distribution. It can improve strength and contribute to weight reduction and the avoidance of rejects. The innovative simulation software used by Gerresheimer for this purpose tunes the production parameters based on CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics or numerical flow mechanics). In this way, potential for improvement can be identified at an early stage and the development time can be shortened.
Considering all chemical and physical glass parameters, the moulding production process and the design of the moulds are optimized with the aid of digital simulation on the computer. The mould cooling is also optimally designed for the respective process by means of CFD simulation. This leads to stress reductions in the glass container and thus to an effectively improved quality of the entire production process, for example by avoiding high scrap rates
Reduction of development time by up to 70 percent
What used to take lengthy, empirical trials to achieve a stable production process is now done in a matter of minutes, at the push of a button so to speak, using computer-based simulation software. Subsequently, the results are transferred via interfaces directly to the three-dimensional CAD software of the mould design department, and the mould processing machines use them directly to create the mould tools. It is also gratifying that the simulation software reduces development time by up to 70 percent.
Based on the well-known finite element analysis, also known as the FEA method, the stresses resulting from the product requirements are calculated on the glass containers. Based on these results, weak points can be avoided even before the finished article drawings of the product. In the meantime, computer-aided simulation of the moulding process and product requirements has become an indispensable part of daily mould design.