Introduction to Altair Inspire Cast: Setting Up a Simulation

Article by GoEngineer on Sep 18, 2020

Altair Inspire Cast  is a fast, easy, accurate, and affordable simulator for early casting feasibility and process development; it’s a tool that allows you to create a metal casting such as aluminum and steel and incorporate an assortment of different components to run trial and error tests.  

Engineers rely on Inspire Cast because it offers a quick feasibility assessment on their existing designs so they can determine if their part is going to be castable, if they’ve made a region too thick, or whether they should be concerned about porosity. (Related article:  Detecting Porosity Problems ) Altair Inspire Cast also reduces a lot of trial and error required when producing high-quality castings. Trial and error can be performed directly inside of the software rather than making physical castings and having to tweak a design, sometimes multiple times, to get a good casting.  

Additionally, Altair Inspire cast has a quick ramp-up time and is very easy to use. We'll feature examples of its capabilities in this article. Let’s take a look. 

Five-Step Simulation Setup 

The setup for a casting process inside of Altair Inspire Cast contains five steps: 

Step 1. Import casting and components 

Step 2. Define gates 

Step 3. Create components 

Step 4. Define casting process 

Step 5. Run the study 

Once you run the analysis, you’ll be able to see many different types of results such as the temperature when it’s filling, how much porosity might be inside the part after it solidifies, results from the filling phase, and the solidification phase. With your results, you’ll be able to pick out regions and correct some of the defects by adding risers or making design changes.  

To set up a casting simulation, you can bring in a model from a 3D CAD tool like SOLIDWORKS and from there start simplifying regions with the simplified geometry tool on areas you don’t plan on using in the actual casting simulation.  

If you move over to the casting interface, that is where you will see the five steps mentioned above and we can go ahead and get started. In the video clip below, you’ll see the casting process of an example part.

Setting Up a Basic Simulation  

We decided to make our part out of steel (the library is customizable and has a wide variety of materials that you can incorporate into your part). After we defined the part to be cast, we can then tell it where the gates are going to be located and define a few more components.  

In the video clip above we defined the gravity direction and gave it a few extra components including a core in the center and used green sand for the mold so that it can withstand high temperatures.  

Now that we've set up a basic simulation, we used the default initial velocity that will pour in through the injection location and then run both a filling and a solidification analysis.  

Additional Components  

There are several different types of components that you can include:  

Riser  - A riser is a reservoir of material built into the mold to prevent porosity resulting from shrinkage. It prevents porosity by providing molten metal to the casting as it solidifies so that porosity forms in the riser and not the casting. After solidification, the riser is removed and the part is free of porosity. 

Sleeve  - A sleeve is a sand component that is placed around a riser. It is used to slow the cooling of the riser or decrease its size. It can be exothermic (releases heat) or isothermic (retains heat) 

Chiller  - A chiller is used to accelerate the solidification in a specific area of a metal casting mold. It can be made of any material with a high heat capacity such as steel, iron, or copper. (We cover in-depth details about this component  here .)

Overflow  - Overflows are cavities in the die that act as vents for air to escape and as traps for excess metal flow.   

Mold  - A mold is a bounding box for the casting components. If you don’t create a mold using this tool, a mold is automatically created when you run a casting analysis. 

Core  - A core is used to create the interior shape of a model. It is commonly used in sand casting, but it can also be used in other processes. The core is placed into the mold cavity so that when the material is poured, it displaces the pouring metal. After solidification, the core is removed, revealing the void. 

Cooler  - A cooling system is used in high-pressure die casting to provide heat, dissipation and to maintain a constant temperature relative to the mold. This helps ensure tension-free cooling of the cast parts.  

There are additional ways to set up the basic casting process. In this article, we demonstrated just the basic setup which gives us a quick, general casting. You can also choose from gravity sand casting or gravity die casting, high pressure die casting, and low pressure die casting. In the video clip below, you can see a simulation of what these other options look like. 

If, once your analysis is complete, you find that you need to make some design changes, for instance, in our analysis we found that we needed to draw a simple runner system, we were able to use the geometry modeling tools right inside of Inspire Cast; we didn’t need to go back to SOLIDWORKS or a different CAD modeler.   

Filling Results 

There are many different results you can visualize including temperature, solid fraction, velocity, last air, mold erosion, pressures, filling time, cold shuts, airflow, and mold temperature. 

Solidification Results 

Solidification results include temperature, solid fraction, solidification time, microporosity, niyama, pipe shrinkage, solidification modulus, porosity, total shrinkage volume, and mold temperature. 

I hope you found this introduction to Altair Inspire Cast helpful. If you want to learn more or have questions, please  contact us

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YouTube Button Altair Inspire: Getting Started 

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About GoEngineer

GoEngineer delivers software, technology and expertise that enable companies to unlock design innovation and deliver better products faster. With more than 35 years' experience and tens of thousands of customers in high tech, medical, machine design, energy and other industries, GoEngineer provides best-in-class design solutions from SOLIDWORKS CAD, Stratasys 3D printing, Creaform & Artec 3D scanning, CAMWorks, PLM, Altair, and more

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