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Prediction of component thickness in the blow moulding process

Exploitable results

Computer software that is capable of simulating the blow moulding process and predicting the final wall thickness of the blow moulded part has been developed and incorporated into a commercial software package, ELFEN, that is commercially available from Rockfield Software, one of the project consortium. The project has overcome the major disadvantages, large powerful computers and expensive software that have been associated with previous attempts to model the blow moulding process. The development of software that is capable of predicting the wall thickness of blow moulded articles will reduce the costs associated with the production of prototypes, and reduce the associated lead times. This will result in improved speed and accuracy of the design/quotation phase for new work. In addition, once a thickness can be predicted, material optimisation can take place with respect to structural properties and material usage. With an average material price of approximately 650 ECU/tonne, it is estimated that a 1% saving of material resulting from use of the software developed could result in an average saving of around 23.5 million ECU per annum within Europe - based on the current consumption of plastics within the blow moulding industry. The add-on costs, and environmental impact of these savings could easily double this figure in pure financial terms.