This technical information has been contributed by
Minnesota Rubber and Plastics

Molder Expands Virtual Product Design Capabilities

Finite Element Analysis FEA

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.--Minnesota Rubber and Plastics (MR&P) reports that it is using new computerized simulation capabilities to design, test, and quickly refine products requiring complex assemblies of many rubber and plastic molded components. The new software is said to eliminate the need for "build it and break it" prototyping. It allows MR&P to partner with customers over the entire process of design through manufacturing of a complex product, with a deeper understanding and greater control of design outcomes. Major benefits include greatly enhanced time to market and manufacturing efficiencies.

According to MR&P, the new software brings insight into the detailed behavior of a complex assembly. By helping to understand behavior and interaction of materials and conditions early in the design process, it allows faster refinement of concepts for a new design. For example, it allows evaluation of MR&P's new elastomeric and plastic material formulations and the interactions between parts of different materials.

"These new FEA simulation capabilities are especially helpful when working with a portion of the components in an assembly," reports Tobi Lucas, MR&P engineering manager. "Where customers have designed and produced some components in the assembly on their own, but need MR&P's expertise to design, manufacture and assemble the rest, our capabilities allow that with minimal trial and error."

Time saved for each design reiteration can amount to two, four, and even six weeks on many projects, according to Mr. Lucas. "Overall, we can reduce design time by up to four months using these new capabilities," he reports. "This is especially helpful to medical device manufacturers where FDA approvals and time to market is essential to product success."

 A typical recently completed MR&P project for a medical device customer involved 32 different components in the product assembly. The product is a cardiac steerable lead implant device. MR&P delivered a functioning prototype product in 60 days using its new FEA capabilities. By comparison, using traditional design development methods would have required up to six months for prototype development.

 "It's all about fast analysis of more design alternatives in less time," added Mr. Lucas. "The large-scale linear dynamics of this unique MR&P process enables use of results of one simulation directly in a subsequent analysis while capturing the effects of prior history, such as manufacturing processes on product performance. It's an amazing new capability."

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This technical information has been contributed by
Minnesota Rubber and Plastics

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