Moldflow Krypton for Inventor and SolidWorks

Today Autodesk unveiled a new technology on Autodesk Labs called Project Krypton. This Technology Preview is aimed at people designing plastic parts. As you model your part you are given real time feedback regarding (1) Manufacturability, (2) Cost Efficiency, and (3) Plastic Material Impact. This technology is being shipped as an add-in to Inventor and SolidWorks. Yes, Autodesk is actually offering their Moldflow technology as free add-ins to SolidWorks users.

@kellings asked a question on Twitter, “Very confused by what Autodesk has to gain by making software plugins for SolidWorks. Can anyone help me figure that one out?” To which I replied, “The best form of advertisement is not magazine/web ads. Its making your target audience use your product in theirs.” I don’t think SolidWorks users will switch to Inventor because of this add-in any more than they would by reading an Inventor advertisement or case study. But little things like these add up to build awareness of a product other than the one they are currently using.

The way this works is quite simple actually. The add-in sits inside SolidWorks as a set of three meters one each for manufacturability, cost efficiency and plastic material impact. As you model the add-in does its thing in the background and offers alerts on problems and recommends solutions. For example,  modeling a 50x50x50 mm cube in SolidWorks showed exclamation marks on the manufacturability and cost effectiveness meters.

The add-in recommended that I decrease the part’s thickest regions, reduce the wall thickness and add a draft angle. It also noted that very high cycle times could lead to higher production cost. After I added a draft to the vertical faces the manufacturability meter reading increased a couple of notches because the draft angle issue was taken care of.

The problem about the thickness still remained and hence the warning about the high manufacturing cost. So I added a shell and all the warnings disappeared.

If not anything else, this technology will help educate new users who may not be engineers. Obviously, final decisions are not going to be taken based upon these calculations. But I feel this will go a long way in refining the output that is sent to the simulation engineers down stream.

  • This is Autodesk doing a DWGEditor on SolidWorks. Let the law suits resume!

  • I am not sure what you see in this that can start a law suit. What problem could SolidWorks possible have with Autodesk developing free plug-ins for SolidWorks. I mean, it was SolidWorks that has been developing free DWG translation plug-ins for AutoCAD so that Autodesk customers need not have to upgrade their version of AutoCAD to be able to open files of later versions.

  • This would be more akin to DWGGateway than DWGEditor would it not?

  • Kevin Quigley

    Interesting idea but I don't really see it being of any practical use for actual part design. Perhaps if you have never designed a plastic part for moulding, are only doing very simple shapes and have no idea about the actual process itself then it might be a guideline, but for most users it is just a gimmick. What we actually need is a process that flags up specific problems as they are created, and then offers alternatives.

  • I think you need to see the name of the tool in front of Krypton. MOLDFLOW. This product is used by a lot of SW users and if that can help in the plastic part design inside Inventor and Solidworks they aren't tromping on anyone's toes.

  • Modeling based upon cartoon symbols, yep, that's a gimmick.

    Devon Sowell

  • Charles Culp

    If they were to offer something that was actually useful, that would be nice. Like the old MoldFlowXpress. That actually helped me do plastic design.

    Three little dials? What am I, 12 years old? Max all three dials and you win?

  • If you fill all three dials you level up and become a Elite Paladin with +4 to plastic design.

    Joking aside, as Deelip pointed out this is a good tool for first pass inspection to see if a part has adequate draft on the part and some other factors that newbies to plastic design need help with. Just like the Mold Advisor in Tooling, if you don't need it because you know better, turn it off. I don't know of a single Master Moldsman that uses it, but their interns use it to get a good grasp on the concept and workflow of Mold Design and then they learn from the experts the details and idiosyncrasies. This is really no different. I am a firm believer in software not making choices for engineers and designers as it is a tool and not your job replacement. What I am more concerned about is the logic behind it and who makes the sustainability decisions? I just haven't had time to peek under the hood yet.

  • This might be an opener to getting Moldflow back into the SolidWorks realm. There is a more competition for Moldflow nowadays than ever before. With so many users defaulting to SW, a SW based solution will tend to get more creditability. This little tool isn't that solution, but maybe an opening of the door?

  • SolidWorks offers all these options with DFMXpress, SolidWorks Utilities, SustainabilityXpress and eSimpoeWorks (http://www.simpoe.com/home.php?Lng=EN), which is equivalent to what the old MoldflowXpress was in years past.

  • Charles,

    What if you didn’t know the first thing about plastics, simply did a course in flying a MCAD system and landed a job somewhere as a modeler. Those three dials would then become your training wheels so that you do not output total crap to the people downstream. Or you did sheet metal all your life and you now need to design a plastic part.

  • Charles Culp

    If you don't know the first thing about plastics you shouldn't be designing plastic parts. You should be reading a book about how to design plastics.
    Sabic & DuPont both have plastic design manuals you can download online, that after 2-3 hours of reading will put you miles ahead of these silly dials.
    I am not against all tools like this. Tools that highlight thick areas (for sink), draft analysis that works, these kinds of things are great, and are good for beginner and expert alike. A dial isn't going to help a beginner, either, because it does not describe what is wrong with the part, just that “it is wrong, try again.” Imagine if you went to the expert in your company and that was their response in your design review. That is not helpful at all. I actually talked to a guy who had a boss like that; scary!

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