Gerresheimer: Ecodesign – lightweight, stable and resource-saving

This is how design and production benefit from digital simulation of the glass moulding process

Gerresheimer has set itself the goal of applying sustainability criteria to 100 percent of new product developments by 2023. Ecodesign means that sustainability aspects are included in the development of a product right from the start. For example, glass simulation helps to achieve perfect, uniform glass distribution.

It can improve strength and contribute to weight reduction and the avoidance of rejects. The innovative simulation software used by Gerresheimer for this purpose tunes the production parameters based on CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics or numerical flow mechanics). In this way, potential for improvement can be identified at an early stage and the development time can be shortened.

“The production of the glass container starts with the design of the mould. The more precisely the mould is designed and manufactured, the better its quality in terms of glass distribution, visual appearance, strength and weight,” said Philipp Amrhein, Manager New Product Development & Mould Design at Gerresheimer in Lohr (Germany).

The weight of bottles, flacons and jars in particular plays an important role in energy consumption and therefore in both production and transport logistics. Considering all chemical and physical glass parameters, the moulding production process and the design of the moulds are optimized with the aid of digital simulation on the computer. The mould cooling is also optimally designed for the respective process by means of CFD simulation. This leads to stress reductions in the glass container and thus to an effectively improved quality of the entire production process, for example by avoiding high scrap rates.

Result of the process simulation – analysis of the glass wall thickness distribution

Reduction of development time by up to 70 percent
What used to take lengthy, empirical trials to achieve a stable production process is now done in a matter of minutes, at the push of a button so to speak, using computer-based simulation software. Subsequently, the results are transferred via interfaces directly to the three-dimensional CAD software of the mould design department and the mould processing machines use them directly to create the mould tools. It is also gratifying that the simulation software reduces development time by up to 70 percent.

Rapid detection of vulnerabilities
Based on the well-known finite element analysis, also known as the FEA method, the stresses resulting from the product requirements are calculated on the glass containers. Based on these results, weak points can be avoided even before the finished article drawings of the product. In the meantime, computer-aided simulation of the moulding process and product requirements has become an indispensable part of daily mould design. As part of Gerresheimer’s continuous improvement process, it is indispensable.

Mould cooling design

The global volume of packaging is constantly increasing and with it the negative impact on the environment. The transition to a circular economy is an important concern for Gerresheimer. The company wants to improve the environmental impact of its products throughout their entire life cycle – including production, transport, use and disposal.

Gerresheimers products play a crucial role in the safe transport storage and administration of its customers’ products. In many cases, the packaging solution is an integral part of the system, without which some medications would not be as user-friendly and safe. In this way, the company lays the foundation for a user-friendly, safe and high-quality product right from the development process and aims to ensure that the environmental impact is considered from the outset.

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