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THERCAST® - OVERVIEW
THERCAST® is a 3-D finite-element software system that simulates ingot casting and continuous casting of steel and other metals. It reduces the time and cost of planning, optimizing, starting up and running a new casting process, or of optimizing an existing one.

Capabilities

Master the complex relationships between metal, molds and all other elements of your casting process
THERCAST® software fully integrates the many thermal and mechanical attributes of your casting process into a single model and single set of algorithms, based on a non-stationary 3-D finite element method. This provides dramatic increases in accuracy in many ways, and provides the information you need to correctly design or optimize your casting process.
The unique and powerful thermomechanical capabilities of THERCAST® provide accuracy not available with other simulation software. In this ingot casting example, it is easy to see the air gap that appears between metal and mold, and how the air gap in turn impedes the flow of heat from the metal to the mold.
Air gap simulation:
"Air gaps" are the gaps which appear between metal and mold as the metal begins to cool. Air gaps need to be understood in their own right, as they can affect the dimensions and other characteristics of the part being cast. But more crucially, any gap between metal and mold also acts as an insulator, sometimes dramatically affecting the transfer to heat from metal to mold. This in turn has effects on both the metal and the mold, which in turn have additional effects on the air gap and the heat transfer.
Simulation of metal states:
The advanced simulation capabilities of THERCAST® include algorithms for the liquid state of the metal being cast, modeling both ALE (Arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian ) and Navier-Stokes behavior to account for convection and other liquid metal phenomena. THERCAST® simulates "mushy zone" thermo-viscoplastic Norton-Hoff behavior as the metal begins to solidify, and then solid or thermo-elastic-plastic behavior, when phenomena like air gaps become more significant. In continuous casting applications, THERCAST® also comprehensively models the process through each cooling zone, and at the interfaces where the cooling metal comes in contact with rolls and other casting equipment. For ingot casting, THERCAST® also models the effects of the exothermic powder that is applied to the cooling ingot in order to reduce the transfer of heat to the surrounding air.
Prediction of defects:
THERCAST® is unmatched in its ability to simulate both surface and internal stresses, and to predict when they could cause cracking, hot tearing or other defects. In ingot casting, it can also indicate where shrinkage of the cooling metal will produce voids, and is often the only way to know they might occur. In continuous casting applications, it can help you predict and prevent bulging between rolls, and it can accurately predict breakouts, preventing accidents, delays and equipment damage.

Proven real-world accuracy

Benefit from the unmatched capabilities of THERCAST®
This THERCAST® simulation shows the stresses on the copper plates in this mold. The effects of the cooling channels within the mold are clearly visible. Complete understanding of this initial solidification process is vital in preventing problems later in the casting process and eventual use of the metal.
Proven real-world accuracy:
THERCAST® simulates your planned or existing casting processes with unmatched accuracy. This allows you to confidently make planning and production decisions and avoid unpleasant surprises. Its high performance allow you to define and examine smaller elements in your process, to run larger numbers of simulations, or both, further improving insights and accuracy.
Thermo-mechanical foundation:
The integrated thermal and mechanical algorithms in THERCAST® allow it to accurately model the very complex interrelationships between the liquid, solidifying and solid metal and all the elements of your casting process.
Performance and scalability:
THERCAST® is based on a performance-optimized architecture designed specifically to simulate metalcasting processes. That architecture can then be deployed on one or many processor cores, providing the level of simulation power you need.
Easy setup and exploration:
An intuitive user interface, data import capabilities, equipment templates, and other features of THERCAST make it easy to model your casting environment and quickly begin running casting simulations. They also make it easy to run answer “what-if” questions about optimizing your existing processes without putting production at risk.
Start-to-finish simulation:
Unique to THERCAST® is its ability to simulate every step of your ingot or continuous casting process. Alternative approaches typically involve software tools from different vendors, presenting you with training, licensing, maintenance and compatibility challenges.

Thermo-mechanical foundation

Avoid surprises by modeling your casting process with unprecedented accuracy
An important advantage of THERCAST® is its ability to simulate your metalcasting process with great accuracy. You can model new or planned casting processes with confidence, essentially "seeing inside the process" with even greater clarity than if you actually built and ran the process.
You can also model and experiment with processes already in operation, in order to run "what-if" analyses of how you could boost production, improve quality, reduce cost, reduce energy consumption and preserve safety. The accuracy advantages of THERCAST® can be attributed to several factors:
Integrated thermo-mechanical modeling:
THERCAST® software fully integrated the many thermal and mechanical attributes of your casting process into a single model and single set of algorithms. This provides dramatic increases in accuracy in many ways. An important example concerns "air gaps," the gaps which appear between metal and mold as the metal begins to cool.
Air gaps need to be understood in their own right, as they can affect the dimensions and other characteristics of the part being cast. But more crucially, a gap between metal and mold also acts as an insulator, sometimes dramatically affecting the transfer to heat from metal to mold.
This in turn has effects on both the metal and the mold, which in turn have additional effects on the air gap and the heat transfer. Another example of this thermo-mechanical advantage is that THERCAST® seamlessly simulates the behavior of metal at every step of its transformation from a liquid to a solid state.
THERCAST® predicts the stresses and strains at the end of this solidification process.
The red areas indicate the resulting risk of cracks and the photo shows the cracking in real case.
Only THERCAST® models these and other very complex thermo-mechanical interrelationships.
Other analysis tools that examine and simulate the thermal and mechanical aspects of casting as separate phenomena produce result that can be significantly less accurate, as well as requiring much more human interaction and coordination, and requiring the transfer of data between different software packages.
Parallel computing architecture:
THERCAST® software includes a powerful parallel processing capability, allowing it to benefit from the power of up to 64 core processors. This has two important implications for accuracy. Firstly, it means the process can be simulated with larger numbers of smaller physical "elements," providing much greater process insights and much better accuracy particularly near boundaries in the casting process or parts being cast. Secondly, by allowing simulations to be run more rapidly, THERCAST® empowers you to run more simulations, in order to examine the impacts and interrelationships of various parameters in your process.
Process optimization:
With the accuracy and performance of THERCAST®, you can perfect the operation of your casting process before committing any equipment to it, and then deliver parts that precisely meet your requirements and your customers' expectations.

Performance and scalability

Run simulations faster and more accurately, and run more of them
Performance is an important advantage of THERCAST®.
Performance-optimized architecture:
THERCAST® is optimized for very fast vector and matrix calculations, and has been designed to exploit very fast transfers between processors and memory.
Parallel processing:
THERCAST® also includes a powerful parallel processing capability, allowing it to benefit from the power of unlimited numbers of core processors. Parallelism is based on the SPMD (single process, multiple data) technique, and it means that increases in performance, and reductions in simulation run time, substantially improve as additional processors are applied.
Accuracy:
The performance and scalability of THERCAST® mean that your casting process can be simulated with larger numbers of smaller physical "elements," providing much greater process insights and much better accuracy - particularly near boundaries in the casting process or parts being cast.
More simulations:
High performance allows simulations to be run more rapidly. This empowers you to run greater numbers of simulations, in order to examine the impacts and interrelationships of various parameters in your process.
This image shows of a THERCAST® ingot casting simulation running on eight processor cores.
It has been color-coded to show how different zones of the metal and mold are being simulated by different processors in parallel,
providing dramatic increases in performance.
This allows more simulations to be run, simulations to be run with smaller cell sizes for greater accuracy, or both.
THERCAST® can operate on theoretically unlimited numbers of processor cores in parallel,
providing substantial decreases in the time required to run simulations.

Easy setup and exploration

Easily model an existing casting process, or one you’re planning or imagining
A key enabler of useful, practical simulation is the ability to easily and quickly create a model of your existing or planned casting process.
Ease of use:
THERCAST® features a powerful, intuitive user interface that minimizes training time. In most cases, useful defaults are set, allowing you to proceed as quickly as possible through the setup process. Templates also facilitate easy modeling of existing or planned casting processes.
Easy deployment:
The architecture and licensing of THERCAST® make it easy to deploy it in ways appropriate to your environment and your users.
Import from CAD systems:
THERCAST® includes modules that can use detailed information from CAD systems about casting equipment, including molds, dies, rolls and sprays and their locations and features. This reduces setup cost and time, and allows simulations to take place sooner.
"What-if" analyses:
The powerful features and the high performance of THERCAST® software make it possible to efficiently explore large numbers of process scenarios, adjusting parameters and seeing results, all without the setup of casting equipment or the interruption of current casting operations.

Start-to-finish simulation

Simulate your casting process from start to finish, without the need for multiple software tools
A key advantage of THERCAST® is its ability to accurately simulate every step from the beginning to the end of the casting process. Alternative approaches typically involve software tools from different vendors, presenting you with training, licensing, maintenance and compatibility challenges.
This THERCAST® simulation shows a bottom-filled ingot casting process.
In this case, insufficient amounts of exothermic powder on the top surface of the metal allows heat to escape rapidly to the air, resulting in a void that makes the ingot unusable.
Using THERCAST® to identify and prevent this problem in production saves time and money.
Ingot casting:
In ingot casting applications, THERCAST® models the behavior of the metal and casting equipment, from pouring to cooling and solidification, and finally the stripping out of the ingots.
Learn more about THERCAST® and ingot casting
Continuous casting:
For continuous casting, the behavior of the metal, molds, rolls, sprays and air are all modeled, providing an accurate and complete understanding of your process and your cast parts.
Learn more about THERCAST® and continuous casting
Compatibility with Transvalor FORGE®:
In environments where FORGE® is also used to simulate later forging operations on your cast parts, the data from THERCAST® can be quickly and seamlessly moved to FORGE®, yielding even greater cost savings and productivity.

Deployment

Set up, schedule, run and manage simulations with ease
THERCAST® software is designed for easy, effective and flexible deployment and use in your environment.
Setup:
THERCAST® contains a number of features to allow you to easily create a model of your existing or planned casting process, which you can then use to run process simulations. You can import detailed information about your environment directly from CAD systems, and you can take advantage of THERCAST® equipment templates to model the components of your process.
Parallel computing architecture:
The THERCAST® solver, which conducts your simulations, can run on as few as one processor core, or on a theoretically unlimited number (subject to the software license you choose), allowing you to apply the amount of computing power you need.
Unlimited use of pre- and post-processors:
Tools and pre-processor modules included with THERCAST® help you to model your environment in preparation for running simulations. Post-processor modules help you to visualize, analyze and present the results of the simulations, producing, for example, the animations seen here. THERCAST® tools and pre- and post-processor modules can be deployed and used on as many machines as you like, without licensing restrictions.
Dynamic license allocation for solver:
The licensing mechanism for the THERCAST® solver is based on "tokens," each allowing the operation of the solver on a single core. Packages of tokens are offered so that you can economically purchase the level of capability you need. A powerful scheduler built into THERCAST® manages the supply of available tokens, ensuring that cores are kept busy and that simulations are conducted as efficiently and quickly as possible.
Remote and mobile users:
The THERCAST® scheduler allows remote and mobile users to launch simulations and to borrow tokens as needed (subject to the software license you choose). This provides the greatest possible flexibility in large or multiple-site environments.
Its advantages include:
  • Proven accuracy in predicting real-world results.
  • A unique thermo-mechanical foundation, which comprehensively addresses the many complex interactions between cooling, shrinking metal, molds and all other elements of the casting process.
  • High performance and scalability across processor cores, allowing more accurate simulations, larger numbers of simulations, or both, or data for simulations of later manufacturing steps.
  • Fast and easy setup of new process simulations, and ease of conducting "what-if" investigations of existing processes.
  • The ability to simulate casting processes from start to finish, providing better insights and avoiding the need for multiple simulation tools.
THERCAST® also provides unmatched information on the temperature over time, stresses and other attributes of any point on or within the produced part, providing useful insights for later users of that part, or data for simulation of later manufacturing steps.
In this ingot casting example, THERCAST® precisely predicts the temperature at every point as the metal cools in the mold.
That has many advantages for quality, efficiency and cost savings.
Learn more about THERCAST® and ingot casting
In continuous casting, it is crucial that the skin of the metal is strong enough upon leaving themold to contain the still-molten metal inside.
This THERCAST® simulation shows an undesirable and potentially dangerous “breakout” situation where this is not the case.
Being able to predict problems before production begins can provide significant cost, time, quality and safety benefits.
Learn more about THERCAST® and continuous casting