Automated positioning of cooling channels by using methods of artificial intelligence

Theme
Tool- and Mold-Making
Project title Automated positioning of cooling channels by using methods of artificial intelligence (NeuroTemp)
Project duration 01.07.2009 – 30.07.2011
Video
Press release
Plastic manufacturing processes such as injection moulding require stable and homogeneous temperature distributions of the used tool to achieve a high process stability and efficiency. Important part properties such as the mechanical strength, finish quality and dimensional accuracy are determined by the quality of the tool temperature control. The efficiency of an injection moulding process is among other things determined by its cycle time which is on the other hand depending on the temperature adjustment time. A good heat exchange between the injected material and the tool as well as a homogeneous temperature distribution in the tool wall between the production cycles are requirements for a short cycle time, high component quality and efficiency. The highest temperature on the molded part to ensure the required quality level determines the necessary temperature adjustment time. A homogeneous temperature profile on the surface area of the molded part can rarely be found in practice. A reason for this is usually the approach of the constructive design of a tool where thermodynamic aspects have a subordinate role. Cooling channels made of simple drill holes and milled grooves rarely completely satisfy the requirements to tool temperature controls. Most commonly the results are long temperature adjustment times, possibly insufficient quality and use of energy. However, the temperature control by means of conventional cooling channels is simple to manufacture and therefore industrially established. The use of innovative tool manufacturing techniques has the possibility of near-net-shape positioning of cooling channels and therefore an increase of the form-quality and a reduction of the cycle time. Due to the lack of an automatic method for the identification of a convenient cooling channel pathway, the decision for the positioning is done manually by experienced employees. Because of the indicated effects on the quality of the temperature control, a method for the automatic positioning of cooling channels is intended to be developed on the base of algorithms of artificial intelligence considering thermodynamic aspects. The method is intended to be developed exemplarily for injection moulding tools in the plastic manufacturing sector. The results of the project give companies the opportunity to plan and implement near-net-shape cooling channels. Generative manufacturing processes for injection moulding tools will become series-production ready.

Publications about the project

Through the use of cooling systems in injection molding, the reduction of cycle time and increasing the quality of molded parts is desired. New manufacturing processes such as selective laser melting enable the layered structure of cooling systems and allow the free design of cooling systems which is close to the part geometry. With these form-fitting cooling systems, for example, the tempering cycle times can be reduced further. However, the degree of freedom in the design of cooling circuits increases with the new production method, which makes the manual design difficult and extends the simulation times. Automated design methods of conformal cooling systems based on geometric and process parameters are currently not available. An innovative software helps by constructing close-contoured channels and reducing the cycle time with minimized engineering effort.

injection molding, conformal cooling systems, design, nature-inspired algorithms

Still profitability and quality are decisive competitive factors in production business. Therefore injection molding faces the challenge to produce valuable parts with constant quality at a lower cost. An innovative software for automatic and close-contoured construction of cooling channels supports that by use of artificial intelligence developed by the IPH – Institute for integrated Production Hannover gGmbH together with several companies.

profitability and quality, injection molding, close-contoured construction of cooling channels

Still profitability and quality are decisive competitive factors in production business. Therefore injection molding faces the challenge to produce valuable parts with constant quality at a lower cost. An innovative software helps by constructing close-contoured channels and reducing the cycle time with minimized engineering effort.

profitability and quality, injection molding, close-contoured construction of cooling channels

The quality of molded products and production cycle times are influenced by mold temperature control systems. Today experienced technical designers are developing form-fitting temperature control systems manually. Afterwards they analyzes the systems in iterative and experimental simulations. Here, a method for automatic design of mold temperature control systems is presented. The method uses nature-inspired algorithms, which improve the economical benefit of the construction process and the injection molding process.

injection molding, conformal cooling systems, design, nature-inspired algorithms

Economic efficiency and quality are both deciding competitive factors for companies with a production of industrial goods. To produce and deliver parts of a steady high-quality and simultaneously at low costs is a big challenge. An example is the industrial sector of injection moulding. A new software provides help by constructing canals closer to the surface. Therefore the quality of the parts increases and the cycle time decreases. Beyond this the effort for the constructor is optimized.

injection moulding, temperature mangement, software deveopment

Sponsor

The ZIM project KU2098701 GZ8 was funded via the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF) within the Central Innovation Program for small and medium-sized enterprises (ZIM) by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) based on a decision of the German Bundestag.

Your contact person

Dr.-Ing.

Jan Langner

Manager process technology