Process modeling of compression moulding with sheet moulding compound (SMC) for automotive hollow parts
To reduce the weidht of cars in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the automotive industry has recently been turning to the extensive use of composite materials for structural applications. Magna Exteriors Inc (MEI), a world leader tier 1 automotive supplier and a division of Magna International Inc, is seeking ways to develop a new high-volume manufacturing process for hollow parts using sheet moulding compound (SMC). At the moment, the most promising manufacturing process that meets the requirements is hot compression moulding with an easily removalble mandrel added to the part before moulding. However, some challenges like mandrel shift during moulding and uneven material distribution still need to be addressed. The proposed project will develop computational models that can accuratedly simulate SMC flow so that it can help improve tooling design and charge patterns to avoid mandrel shifting and to limit invalid cavities where SMC flow cannot fill.