Casting process simulation done with MAGMA
The relationship between Teksid and MAGMA dates back to the beginning of the 1990s, when a group of engineers at Fiat Research (CRF) started to use the, at that time new, MAGMASOFT® code for the simulation of both aluminum and iron casting processes, supported by some Teksid foundry engineers.
The encouraging results of this pioneering work convinced Teksid to bring process simulation activities in-house with the acquisition of MAGMASOFT® licenses. Within a few years, the aluminum division installed a dedicated team of engineers coordinating simulation activities across the company, defining common methodologies, performing initial simulations for prototypes, and supporting the extension of these tools to other plants, in order to allow local resources to perform the final optimization of their casting process.
In recent years, MAGMA and Teksid Aluminum have continued their cooperation by participating into two European funded projects, IDEAL (2002-20059 and NADIA (2006-2010), aimed at the development of new methodologies for the design of light alloy components, the modeling of local properties of castings, and the integration of foundry process simulation and structural analysis tools.
The challenge of new generation cylinder heads…
Today’s cylinder head castings are very challenging products: due to high specific power ratings for new engines, operating temperatures can reach or exceed 250°C at the flame deck, resulting in thermal fatigue stresses; increasing combustion pressure peaks generate severe high cycle fatigue loads (especially in diesel engines) at the bottom of the cooling water jacket.
In addition, due to the introduction of sophisticated cooling circuits, as well as new combustion and advanced valve train actuation systems, the geometry of cylinder heads is becoming more and more complex. Precise control of the metal flow into the mold and of the solidification is required to provide a sound casting with an optimal distribution of microstructure to achieve properties capable of coping with these extreme operating conditions. A fine microstructure is required in the flame deck and around the combustion chambers to provide adequate strength and ductility to withstand the high thermo-mechanical loads found in those areas. The porosity level has to be kept as low as possible to ensure proper tightness of the internal cooling circuits of the head.
… and the answers coming from simulation
The analysis of filling, solidification and potential defects using MAGMASOFT® allows the engineer to evaluate, in advance of the actual manufacture of the mold, different geometrical options such as modifications to the casting, gating and feeding systems, combinations of process parameters, and mold cooling line layout and timing. In this way, time to market of new products can be shortened and development costs cut by dramatically reducing experimental tooling and process optimization.