Cast metal products are found in a large number of consumer goods. From automobiles to home appliances, cast metal products are integral to our way of life. In Europe, this industry is an important employer and revenue generator. The internal intricacies of many cast metal components are generated with the help of cores. A model is created and filled with sand. Exposure to a catalyst gas solidifies the sand and presto, you have a core. As it turns out, the creation of these cores often forms a bottleneck in the overall manufacturing process. A project bringing together industry members, research institutes and a software developer aimed to address this issue. In particular, the software developer, ESI Software, went about creating software to simulate the core creation process. Prior to the project, OPTIBLOW, such software did not exist. Computer code was written describing the relevant physical processes occurring in the sand media during the stages of blowing, gassing and purging. Validation of the model's performance was carried out. The relative influence of various design aspects, such as core geometry and venting procedures, was analysed. These results formed a new module incorporated into ESI's existing commercial software package entitled PAM-CAST/SIMULOR. Using this software, the industrial partners can optimise the results of the core-making process. The benefits include reduced time-to-market, decreased production costs, shorter lead times and increased quality of the final product. The software is copyrighted and available directly from ESI Software.
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