to the injection molding simulation market

Press Release
Your contact:
B.Sc. Vanessa Schwittay
Hall 13 / Stand A01 and A08
America and Asia:
Dr. Laura Flórez
SIGMASOFT®: 15 Years of Simulation Milestones
A recount of the “industry firsts” brought by SIGMASOFT
to the injection molding simulation market
With a sustained investment in research and development and a strong commitment for
technical excellence, SIGMASOFT® celebrates 15 years in the market raising the bar in
accuracy and reliability of molding process simulation. Simulation of fiber orientation,
viscoelastic behavior, multi-component simulation, core deformation and now Virtual Molding
belong to the “industry firsts” brought to the market by SIGMASOFT®.
Aachen, October 16th 2013 – SIGMASOFT® celebrates 15 years in 2013; one and a half
decades devoted to technical excellence have marked several milestones in the
development of injection molding simulation, bringing accuracy and reliability to a complete
new level.
SIGMA Engineering GmbH was born in 1998 to provide SIGMASOFT®, as a daughter
company of the market leader in foundry simulation, MAGMA Gießereitechnologie GmbH,
based in Aachen, Germany. After a research project in the early 1990s, similarities between
the processing and rheology of semi-solid metal-melts and melted plastics were encountered
and the idea of developing a new software tool for injection molding simulation was born.
The approach of SIGMASOFT® was, at the time, completely different: inheriting the
advantages of the foundry market leader software MAGMASOFT®, SIGMASOFT® was
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developed from the beginning with a full 3D approach, integrated with a powerful thermal and
flow solver, and with a unique and easy to use meshing algorithm based on the finite-volume
method. This enabled the integration of all components of the molded part, of inserts and of
the mold itself in the simulation, delivering a still unmatched degree of accuracy of the real
injection molding process.
During the past 15 years, several worldwide “industry firsts” have been brought by
SIGMASOFT® to the injection molding simulation arena:
2002: The fiber orientation in fiber reinforced materials was simulated for the first time. With
the integrated interface SIGMALINK®, this information can be mapped into a FEM mesh for
structural analysis.
2004: A model to simulate crystallization was for the first time introduced in the market.
Considering the crystallization behavior is critical to accurately predict the warpage and
deformation in semi-crystalline materials, particularly once the part is ejected from the mold.
2005: A model was developed to simulate three dimensional hot runners. The hot runners
behave differently than cold runners from the rheological and thermal point of view: while
remaining filled over several cycles, they affect the temperature distribution in their
surroundings and therefore the overall thermal picture. They also influence the thermal
history of the melt and thus the warpage of the part.
2005: The possibility to simulate the core or insert deformation in the part and mold was
for the first time available in an injection molding simulation software package. Core
deformation during filling due to a pressure gradient, as well as the deformation due to
thermal expansion is reliably predicted by SIGMASOFT®.
2006: The possibility to simulate the viscoelastic behavior of plastic materials was for the
first time made available to the industry. Plastic parts exhibit both an elastic behavior, similar
to that of rigid solids, and a viscous behavior, similar to that of fluids. The account of both
behaviors, particularly the relaxation of in-molded stresses, improves the accuracy of the
shrinkage and warpage simulation.
2006: For the first time in the industry was it possible to simulate multi-component injection
molding. The process of injecting a material over a part already molded has several
implications: the thermal and rheological history of the material previously molded affects the
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molding and shrinkage behavior of the second or third component. Considering these effects
was possible for the first time through SIGMASOFT®.
2007: The so-called “contact simulation” was born. This simulation accounts for the contact
between part and mold as the part shrinks during the cooling stage. Therefore, the stresses
induced in the molded part due to the mold hindrance are considered, and the prediction of
shrinkage and warpage is further improved.
2007: A new feature was introduced in order to consider the behavior of the part after it
was ejected from the mold. The effect of thermal treatments, such as lacquering, annealing
or quenching can now be considered in the simulation.
2009: Ejection simulation was integrated. SIGMASOFT® is nowadays the only software
available in the market able to simulate the contact force of the ejector pins in the molded
part, and to predict the stresses induced in the part due to the ejection process.
2010: The possibility to simulate variothermal cooling and heating was made available for
the first time in the industry.
2011: A model was integrated to couple the fiber orientation with the rheology of a fiberreinforced polymer. This coupled behavior prediction improves the reliability of both structural
and flow simulation analysis, particularly for high fiber loads.
2012: For the first time, unstructured meshes were brought to injection molding simulation,
saving mesh elements. Also, a complete new solver technology was introduced, which
substantially reduced calculation times – particularly in thick-walled components.
2013: The Virtual Molding technology was introduced to the market. All the previous
developments, particularly the speed-up of the Sigma 5.0 release, brought the possibility to
use simulation instead of iteration trials in the machine, dramatically saving resources.
“Quality at the service of our costumers”
When asked about the main accomplishment of SIGMA in this 15 years, Dr. Marco
Thornagel, Executive Director, highlights the technical competence and reputation achieved
by the company. “Today SIGMA with its product SIGMASOFT® is known as the technical
leader in injection molding simulation and is highly regarded as a competent partner. And this
is true for all branches and all material classes”, he states. “I am proud of this technical
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reputation in a large variety of technical plastic applications and processes. Quality at the
service of our costumers”.
From Dr. Thornagel’s perception, Virtual Molding is the most relevant development provided
by SIGMA until now. “Based on the 15 Year development in plastics processing and the even
longer experience in the foundry simulation, we are now in a position to set up a mold in a
virtual injection molding machine and to virtually run production trials. From my point of view,
this will change the way to operate in plastics processing essentially. Cost and time saving
are only short-term benefits. Know-how development, increase of the innovation drive,
positioning as added-value partner and last but not least the possibility to better
communicate experiences within the company are long-term effective advantages for
“We want to keep doing things right”
Dr. Götz Hartmann, CEO of SIGMA Engineering GmbH, confirms that the technical
orientation of the company, together with a sound technical background of the engineers at
SIGMA and the freedom in research and development have been the key to success in the
past 15 years and are the basis for the future growth of SIGMASOFT®. “SIGMA is strongly
motivated by technology”, states Dr. Hartmann. “To those who understand that injection
molding is a very complex process, we can offer a highly developed tool to analyze and
understand processes, and to -based on this information- optimize them”.
A major differentiator of SIGMASOFT®, as stated by its customers, has been the technical
support provided: “Very often our clients acknowledge the excellent technical backup
provided by our engineers – a key parameter when it comes to add value through the
simulation of complex processes”, declares Dr. Hartmann. SIGMA has strongly invested in a
team of technically specialized engineers who, beyond knowing how to use the software,
understand the molding process and the struggles of their customers.
When asked about the direction of SIGMA in the years to come, Dr. Hartmann emphasizes
that he intends to lead his team doing what was done the right way in the last years, this time
even more effectively and efficiently. “This will strengthen our freedom to invest in research
and development and to consolidate our position as technological leaders in injection
molding simulation”.
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SIGMA® ( is 100% owned by MAGMA® (, the world market leader in
casting process simulation technology based in Aachen, Germany. Our SIGMASOFT® process simulation
solution optimizes the manufacturing process for injection molded plastic components. SIGMASOFT ® combines
the 3D geometry of the parts and runners with the complete mold assembly and temperature control system and
incorporates the actual production process to develop a turnkey injection mold with an optimized process.
At SIGMA® and MAGMA®, our goal is to help our customers achieve required part quality during the first trial. The
two product lines – injection molded polymers and metal castings – share the same 3D simulation technologies
focused on the simultaneous optimization of design and process. SIGMASOFT ® thus includes a variety of
process-specific models and 3D simulation methods developed, validated and constantly improved for over 25
years. A process-driven simulation tool, SIGMASOFT®, with its comprehensive simulation approach, provides a
tremendous benefit to production facilities. Imagine your business when every mold you build produces required
quality the first time, every time. That is our goal. This technology cannot be compared to any other conventional
“Design” simulation approach employed in plastics injection molding.
New product success requires a different communication between designs, materials, and processes that design
simulation is not meant for. SIGMASOFT® provides this communication. SIGMA® support engineers, with 450
years of combined technical education and practical experience, can support your engineering goals with
applications specific solutions. SIGMA® offers direct sales, engineering, training, implementation, and support, by
plastics engineers worldwide.
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