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ANSYS Workbench Plastic Cake Container Optimization

Inline Plastic Corp Cake Container

Inline Plastics Corporation designs and manufactures plastic containers used to package food items.  The manufacturing process starts with rolls of plastic that are fed into machines that form the final shape of the containers.  In the design of the containers, several factors are important, including minimizing the amount of raw material used and maximizing the visibility of the product inside the container.

In this case, the design goal was to optimize the cake container design with respect to material use and visibility, while maintaining sufficient structural stiffness to prevent buckling when the containers are stacked or when handled by consumers.

Inline Plastics chose CAE Associates to help with this project based on our expertise in nonlinear structural analysis and optimization.


Using a supplied CAD model of a current cake container design, CAE Associates created a finite element model which was able to predict the overall response of  a stack of multiple containers.  This provided the basis for determining the necessary inputs to the optimization, such as wall thickness, number of stiffeners, dimensions of stiffeners and other parameters to define key geometric entities.  Identifying specific input parameters for the optimization enabled hundreds to design scenarios to be analyzed. Based on a statistical approach, optimal configurations were determined.

The objective function (goal) and state variables (design parameters) of the optimization were selected to best fit a design that had adequate stiffness using the minimum amount of plastic material, while maximizing the container's product visibility. 

The results were presented to Inline Plastics in the form of a design table, allowing engineers to choose candidate designs based on a particular set of specified goals without performing any additional analysis. The time and cost savings produced by this approach gives Inline Plastics a significant advantage over its competitors.