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DOI 10.1007/s00366-005-0004-8

O R I GI N A L A R T IC L E

Y. C. Lam Æ Y. M. Deng Æ C. K. Au

optimisation

Received: 3 March 2004 / Accepted: 9 February 2005 / Published online: 22 March 2006

Springer-Verlag London Limited 2006

Abstract Injection moulding conditions such as melt includes melt temperature, mould temperature and the

temperature, mould temperature and injection time are injection time. Determination of the moulding condi-

important process parameters. Optimisation of these tion, which is important to control the part quality, re-

parameters involve complex patterns of local minima, lies traditionally on the skill of the moulding operator.

which makes it very suited for Genetic Algorithm (GA). The decision is based on the ad hoc use of knowledge

However, once a minimal region is identiﬁed during the and experience accumulated over the years. In order to

search process, the GA method is not eﬃcient, even meet the high quality requirements in the injection

sometimes impossible, in reaching its minimum. This is moulding industry, a more systematic and scientiﬁc ap-

because GA is opportunistic not deterministic. The proach is required to determine the moulding condition

crossover and mutation operation may lead the search for optimal part quality.

out of the identiﬁed minimal region. Gradient methods, Several numerical simulation studies had been carried

on the other hand, are very eﬃcient in this regard and out for determining the moulding condition with the

can guarantee a local minimum, but not a global one. In numerical optimisation algorithms. Numerical simula-

this paper, a strategy of using a hybrid of both methods tion is used as a process model to obtain the gradient

in injection moulding conditions optimisation is pro- information which is useful in optimising the moulding

posed, so as to exploit their respective advantages. The condition. Two major approaches are employed: gradi-

hybrid optimisation process is elaborated and a case ent-based method and direct search method. The gradi-

study is conducted to test the eﬀectiveness and eﬃciency ent information is obtained either by a local

of the strategy and its implementation algorithm. The approximation using the forward ﬁnite diﬀerence meth-

optimisation results from the hybrid approach are od [2] or by a global approximation using designed

compared with those from the GA method alone to experiment [3]. A direct search algorithm—the modiﬁed

demonstrate the improvement. complex method [4] is used in order to save the numerical

experimentation for obtaining the gradient information.

Keywords Genetic Algorithm Æ Gradient method Æ Artiﬁcial intelligence techniques are also applied to

Injection moulding conditions Æ Optimisation determine the moulding condition. The heuristic

knowledge and the experience of moulding personnel

form a main source of information for determining the

1 Introduction moulding condition. Several systems are developed

based on the rule-based approach [5, 6] to provide

The main concern in injection moulding is to produce solutions to moulding problems. Some recently devel-

plastic parts of the desired quality. Important part oped systems are based on the case-based approach [7, 8]

quality includes mechanical characteristics, dimensional to assist in setting the moulding conditions.

conformity and appearance [1]. The major factors Genetic Algorithm (GA) based methods [9, 10] are

aﬀecting part quality are polymer properties, mould also proposed to address the problem of moulding con-

design and moulding conditions. Moulding condition dition optimisation. However, the GA method is ineﬃ-

cient and sometimes it is almost impossible to reach the

optimum due to its non-deterministic characteristic. The

Y. C. Lam Æ Y. M. Deng Æ C. K. Au (&) crossover and mutation operation may lead the search

School of Mechanical and Production Engineering, out of the identiﬁed minimal region. Gradient methods,

Nanyang Technological University, on the other hand, are very eﬃcient in this regard and can

50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore, 639798, Singapore

E-mail: mckau@ntu.edu.sg guarantee a local minimum, but not a global one.

194

In this paper, a strategy of using a hybrid of both • The maximum shear rate should be less than the

methods in injection moulding optimisation is proposed, material allowed;

so as to exploit their respective advantages. • The minimum ﬂow front temperature should be

greater than the melt temperature minus 20C (i.e. not

more than 20C below the melt temperature).

2 Optimisation

There might also be other additional requirements:

A constrained optimisation problem is formulated as

follows: • Problem-speciﬁc requirements, such as shear stress

where the snap ﬁt or screw hole is located.

optimise UðxÞ such that 8x 2 Rn subject to x 2 S Rn

Objective function can also be deﬁned as the weighed

where U(x) is an objective function; x is a set of sum of several sub-functions.

parameters; S is the search space. Deﬁnition 2 A weighted minimum objective function

In the case of injection moulding, the objective [12] is deﬁned by normalising each sub-function by their

function U(x) is a measure of the part quality, x is the ranges of variation.

moulding condition in the search space S. Then the weighted minimum objective function

Uj (" j 2[1,m]) can be expressed as:

2.1 Objective function

X

i¼1n

vi;j vi;min

Uj ¼ xij ; ð1Þ

The quality of a plastic part is determined by measuring vi;max vi;min

their warpage, shrinkage, dimensional stability and

mechanical strength. These components rely on the where n is the number of n individual sub-functions; m

moulding conditions. An objective function is used to is the number of feasible moulding conditions; vi,j ("

quantify the part quality. The value of this objective i 2[1,n] and " j 2[1,m]) is the value of each sub-function

function varies with the moulding conditions. The for each of the feasible moulding conditions x; x i ("

common factors that aﬀect the quality of a part are i 2[1,n]) is the weighting factor corresponding to each

listed: sub-function; vimin and vimax(" i 2[1,n]) are the end

maximum values of each sub-function.

• Maximum cavity pressure (MPa); The value of this objective function varies from 0 to

• Maximum shear stress (MPa); 1. Hence, the ﬁtness function Fj (j=1,2,...,m) for the

• Maximum shear rate (1/s); Genetic Algorithm can be expressed as:

• Maximum ﬂow front temperature (C);

• Minimum ﬂow front temperature (C); Fj ¼ 1 Uj : ð2Þ

• Maximum end-of-ﬁll temperature (C);

• Minimum end-of-ﬁll temperature (C);

• Maximum cooling time (s); 2.2 Search space

• Minimum cooling time (s);

• Actual injection time (s); The optimisation search space is a space of feasible

• Maximum volumetric shrinkage (%); solutions, which is represented by the ranges of the

• Minimum volumetric shrinkage (%); components of parameter x representing the moulding

• Maximum clamp tonnage (tonnes). conditions. In the ﬁlling stage, the important moulding

conditions are mould temperature, melt temperature and

These factors constitute the part quality and can be used the injection time. The operation ranges of mould tem-

to measure the part quality. Other factors can be as perature and melt temperature are limited by melt

objective function. Common examples are: properties. For a speciﬁc plastic material, there is a

recommended melt temperature range and mould tem-

• Cooling time;

perature range. The injection time range is determined

• End-of-ﬁll temperature;

by two factors:

• Volumetric shrinkage;

1. Feasible injection time range This is the range of

• Warpage;

ﬁlling time together with the melt temperature and mould

• Filling time at extremities;

temperature constituting the feasible moulding condi-

• Uniform pressure at extremities.

tion. This is a closed range with upper and lower limits.

To optimise the part quality is equivalent to that of

Let xabc ¼ ðTm;a ; TM;b ; tab;c Þ 2 R3 be a set of moulding

maximising the uniformity of these factors.

condition with the melt temperature Tm;a and mould

Deﬁnition 1 The feasible moulding conditions should

temperature TM;b and injection time tab,c for a speciﬁc

satisfy the following three requirements [11]:

material. The subscripts a 2[0, 1], b 2[0,1] and c 2[0,1]

• The maximum shear stress should be less than the refer to the minimum value (when a=0, b=0, c=0) and

material allowed; the maximum value (when a=1, b=1, c=1).

195

Deﬁnition 3 Tm;a ð8a ¼ f0; 1gÞ and Tm;a ð8a ¼ f0; 1gÞ

are termed boundary melt/mould temperature since they

are the melt and mould temperature at the vertices of the

space [Tm,0, Tm,1] · [TM,0, TM,1 ].

Assumption For a speciﬁc material, there is a bi-linear

function between the melt temperature, the mould tem-

perature and the injection time.

Hence,

8Tm;a 2 ½Tm;0 ; Tm;1 and 8TM;a 2 ½TM;0 ; TM;1

9tab;c 2 ½tab;0 ; tab;1 such that

ð3Þ

tab;c ¼ ð1 aÞð1 bÞt00;c þ ð1 bÞat10c

þ bð1 aÞt01c þ abt11c 8c ¼ 0; 1;

where

Fig. 2 Maximum injection pressure versus injection time

Tm;a Tm;0 TM;b TM;0

a¼ ; b¼ :

Tm;1 Tm;0 TM;1 TM;0

where tp,0 is the injection time with the largest maximum

Deﬁnition 4 [tab,0, tab,1] (" a={0,1} and " b={0,1}) is injection pressure and; tp,1 is the injection time with the

termed boundary injection time range since it is the least maximum injection pressure.

injection time range at the vertices of the space [Tm,0, Deﬁnition 5 The search space S is deﬁned as

Tm,1] · [TM,0, TM,1 ].

The injection time range is shown in Fig. 1. S ¼ xabc j8Tm;a 2 ½Tm;0 ; Tm;1 ; 8TM;a 2 ½TM;0 ; TM;1 ;

2. Machine capacity The injection time should be short 8tab;ac 2 ½maxðtab;0 ; tp;0 Þ; minðtab;1 ; tp;1 Þg:

to increase the production rate. However, it is also

limited by the machine capacity. Figure 2 shows a U- With these considerations, the boundary injection time

shape relationship between maximum injection pressure range is determined by a search process. The process

and injection time. Higher maximum injection pressure examines each boundary injection time tab,c (" a 2{0,1},

is required for short ﬁlling time. As the injection time " b 2{0,1} and " c 2{0,1}) from a minimal value

increases, the maximum injection pressure will drop and ( £ tab,0 " a 2{0,1} and " b 2{0,1}), which corresponds

less frictional heat is generated which also decreases the to the maximum injection velocity the moulding machine

viscosity of the melt. As a result, a higher maximum can deliver. The minimum value ( £ tab,0, " a 2{0,1} and

injection pressure is required to drive the melt to ﬂow. " b 2{0,1}), step value and maximum value (‡ tab,1, " a

The injection time with the lowest maximum injection 2{0,1} and " b 2{0,1}), are pre-speciﬁed. The lower

pressure will be used as the upper bound. Hence, the bound of the range is the ﬁrst feasible injection time (tab,0,

injection time should be " a 2{0,1} and " b 2{0,1}). After that, the cavity pres-

sures corresponding to each of the succeeding injection

times are examined. The upper bound of the range is the

tp;0 t tp;1 ; ð4Þ

injection time tp,1 that corresponds to the least maximum

cavity pressure. If, however, before reaching this upper

bound, the injection times have already became nonfea-

sible, then the last feasible injection time tab,1 (" a 2{0,1}

and " b 2{0,1}) will be taken as the upper bound.

The examination of each injection time is accom-

plished by executing a ﬂow simulation, with the current

injection time and the corresponding boundary melt/

mould temperature being speciﬁed as the processing

conditions. The simulation results are then used to ex-

tract the relevant data, such as maximum shear stress,

maximum shear rate, minimum ﬂow front temperature

and maximum cavity pressure. They are then used to

verify whether the injection time is in the search space.

Figure 3 illustrates the ﬂowchart of the search pro-

cess for boundary injection time ranges and the calcu-

lation of an arbitrary injection time range. The process

starts from specifying the necessary information, such as

part geometric model, material, boundary conditions,

Fig. 1 Illustration of injection time ranges and processing conditions, where the injection time is

196

apply to all situations.

During the optimisation process, the four boundary

injection time ranges are determined ﬁrst. The arbitrary

injection time ranges are calculated only when required.

This will be elaborated in Sect. 3.

strategy and is probabilistic in nature [13]. It starts with

a set of solutions, represented by chromosomes, called

population. The population is evaluated according to

the ﬁtness function determined by the pre-deﬁned

objective function, from which new solutions are taken

to form a new population. A number of GA operations

are used for generating the new population, including

selection, crossover and mutation. This new population

will then be used for another round of new population

production. The evolutionary process continues until

the pre-speciﬁed convergence criteria have been

reached.

Contrary to GA methods, gradient methods are

deterministic. The searches for a minimum from a

starting point in the search space by taking the direction

of steepest slope. Hence, the eﬀectiveness and eﬃciency

of the method is very much determined by the selection

of the starting point.

In this paper, a sub-set of the overall search space is

deﬁned where there is only one local minimum as a local

minimum region. The local minimum region, whose

minimum corresponds to the lowest minimum of the

overall search space, is referred to as the lowest minimum

region. With these deﬁnitions, the overall search space

consists of a number of local minimum regions. Identi-

fying the lowest minimum region, i.e. a point within the

lowest minimum region, will be essential for the gradient

method to be successful.

For the optimisation of injection moulding condi-

tions, each solution consists of three parameters,

namely, melt temperature, mould temperature and

injection time. Due to the complex patterns of local

minima in the objective function as against the moulding

conditions, ﬁrstly, GA method is used to identify the

lowest minimum region. Subsequently, gradient method

is used to search for the minimum within the identiﬁed

region.

However, GA method cannot guarantee that the

Fig. 3 Flowchart of injection time range determination derived minimum result corresponds to the global min-

imal region, nor can it guarantee that the result is the

minimum in this region. This is a direct result of the

one parameter of the processing conditions, which varies randomisation techniques used by the GA method.

in a step-wise manner within the speciﬁed search range. Hence, the last generation of GA algorithm is often

For veriﬁcation of feasible injection times, problem- taken as a collective output, so that human interpreta-

speciﬁc requirements, if any, should be speciﬁed. There tion may be applied to get the best from the output.

197

To avoid human interference, a number of elite for each of the speciﬁed quality measuring criteria, cal-

solutions from all generations of GA search results is culating weighted objective function and ﬁtness func-

selected, hoping that one of the selected solutions is tion. After all the GA operations, the new chromosomes

within the global minimal region. These elite solutions are decoded to derive the respective new solutions for

correspond to those that have a relatively smaller the new population. These new solutions should then be

objective function value than those not selected. veriﬁed to ensure that they are within the search space. If

It should be noted that even this strategy cannot any solution is invalid, then the GA operations should

guarantee that the lowest minimum region can deﬁnitely be applied again.

be selected. A trade-oﬀ between eﬃciency and precision The above process is iterated until a convergence

also exists: if more elite solutions are selected, then there criterion is met. In this paper, only the commonly used

will be a higher chance of ﬁnding the lowest minimum generation size is used as the convergence criterion, so as

region; however, more computation will be required. to test the inﬂuence of diﬀerent generation sizes to the

Nevertheless, it provides a further means to improving improvement of hybrid optimisation results over sole

the optimisation result from the GA search alone. Be- GA results. By selecting from among all solutions from

sides, in this strategy, GA search is not used to derive an all generations of the search process, a number of elite

optimum, but rather to derive starting points for the ones are then taken out for the gradient method to be

subsequent gradient searches. Hence, the generation size discussed below. Figure 4 illustrates the elaborated GA

is made smaller than when only sole GA searching is search process.

used.

Once the starting points, that is, the selected elite

solutions, are determined, gradient searches can be ap-

plied. The following two situations may be possible:

• Starting from one selected elite solution, no new

optimum can be found. This shows that the solution

from GA method is already the minimum within its

corresponding local minimum region.

• Starting from one selected elite solution, the gradient

search process passes through another selected elite

solution. This shows that these two elite solutions are

actually within the same local minimum region.

Hence, there is no need to conduct gradient search for

those selected elite solutions that have been passed

through during the previous gradient search processes.

will correspond to a local minimum. The lowest mini-

mum can then be determined by choosing the best

among the local minimums, with its corresponding

parameters being reported as the optimal moulding

conditions.

the search space. This is done by choosing pairs of melt

temperature and mould temperature ﬁrst. Their corre-

sponding injection time ranges are calculated from the

boundary injection time ranges. The injection times are

then randomly chosen from within these ranges. A

binary encoded chromosome is used to represent each

solution within the population.

The standard GA operations can then be applied. For

the selection operation, the solutions in the old popu-

lation are evaluated ﬁrst. The same evaluation method

used in searching for the boundary injection time ranges

is utilised, that is, executing the relevant Moldﬂow

simulation, extracting data from the simulation results Fig. 4 Flowchart of GA search in the hybrid optimisation process

198

abc that gives the minimal objective function value

are repeated.

For each of the selected elite solutions, the gradient The above steps are repeated until the neighbours of

search process will generate a search path which follows the last identiﬁed solution all have higher objective

the steepest slope from the starting solution. Deﬁning function value, that is, the search path has come to the

the ith solution (moulding conditions) in the search path local minimum.

as: After all the selected elites from the GA search pro-

cess have been examined, the optimal moulding condi-

xiabc ¼ ðTm;a TM;b tab;c Þi : tions can be reported, which correspond to the gradient

search result that gives the minimal objective function

Let U(xiabc) be the weighted minimum objective value. Figure 5 shows the ﬂowchart of the elaborated

function at xiabc and DTm, DTM, Dtab,c be the search steps gradient search process.

of melt temperature, mould temperature and injection

time respectively:

Deﬁnition 6 The neighbour of xiabc in the search space

is deﬁned as

2 3

DTm

nj ðxiabc Þ ¼ xiabc þ ½ km kM kt j 4 DTM 5;

Dtab;c

where km, kM, kt 2(1,0,1}.

However, km, kM, kt cannot be all 0 simultaneously

because this corresponds to nj (xiabc)=xiabc. Hence, there

are 3·3·3–1=26 neighbours, that is, j=1,2,...,26 for

deﬁnition (6).

The next solution (xi+1

abc ) in the search path must be

one of neighbours xiabc, whose corresponding objective

function gives the minimum value (thus the search

direction follows the steepest slope), and this value is

smaller than U(xiabc), that is,

xiþ1 i

abc 2 fnj ðxabc Þj8j

¼ 1; 2; . . . ; 26g such that minfUðnj xiabc Þg\Uðxiabc Þ:

ð5Þ

If, min {U(nj xiabc)}

> U(xiabc),

then it means that

xiabc is already the local minimum, the gradient search

process should be stopped.

To expedite the search process, the gradient search

process is adapted. Once the next solution is identiﬁed,

this step is repeated to get the next solution, and one of

its neighbours which is along the last search direction

will be. For example, if in the previous step, it was

found:

2 3

DTm

nj ðxiþ1 i 4 5

abc Þ ¼ xabc þ ½ 1 0 1 j DTM ;

Dtab;c

then, just simply examine the following neighbour of

xi+1

abc :

2 3

DTm

nj ðxiþ2 iþ1 4 5

abc Þ ¼ xabc þ ½ 1 0 1 j DTM :

Dtab;c

+1

If U(nj xiabc) < U(xiabc ), then xi+2 i+1

abc =nj (xabc ) and repeat

this step until this condition is not satisﬁed any further. Fig. 5 Flowchart of Gradient search in the hybrid optimisation

Otherwise, the previous steps to search for the neighbour process

199

4 Case study (packing analysis) for the plastic to cool to the point

where the temperature of each laminate through the

To demonstrate the eﬀectiveness and eﬃciency of the element is below the ejection temperature for the mate-

presented hybrid optimisation strategy and its imple- rial being used [11]. Obviously, to reduce cooling time,

mentation algorithm, this section presents a case study. both melt temperature and mould temperature should

This is an oﬃce tray, as is shown in Fig. 6. The gate be set low, while injection time should be set long to

location was speciﬁed at the middle of an edge on the reduce frictional heat.

outer surface of the tray, as is indicated in the ﬁgure. The As can be seen, these two criteria are somewhat

approximate size of the part is also illustrated in the conﬂicting. Hence, weighting factors must be speciﬁed

ﬁgure. by the designer. Assume that in this case study, 0.6 is

The moldﬂow plastic insight (MPI) 1.1 is used as the assigned to the former criterion, while 0.4 is assigned to

CAE simulation tool. The part material is speciﬁed as a the latter. The weighted objective function is then:

polypropylene (PP) manufactured by Amoco Polymers

Inc., whose trade name is 10–1246 [AMOCO: AM800]. v1j v1 min v2j v2 min

Uj ¼ 0:6 þ 0:4

Assume that the designers have speciﬁed the following v1 max V1 min v2 max v2 min ð6Þ

two criteria construction variables: ðj ¼ 1 to mÞ;

• v1 = Maximum shear stress (MPa), where m is the number of solutions, refer to Eq. 2 for a

• v2 = Maximum cooling time (s). clariﬁcation.

By retrieving from the Moldﬂow material database,

These two variables are used directly as the quality the following melt/mould temperature ranges are used as

measuring criteria. The maximum shear stress should be part of the optimisation search space:

minimised because high shear stress causes frictional

heat, overpacking, warpage, and so on. It should gen- • Melt temperature range: 215–255C;

erally avoid exceeding the maximum recommended limit • Mould temperature range: 20–60C.

for the material, to avoid possible failures in critical

areas of the part where they are subject to high struc- Following the method discussed in Sect. 2, the four

tural stress when in use. Shear stress is related to both boundary injection time ranges can be determined by

pressure and temperature of the melt. From its relation using Moldﬂow simulation analyses, as listed below:

with melt temperature alone, shear stress may be re-

duced by using a high melt temperature. It is also af- • At melt/mould temperature 215, 20C: 0.3–2.1 s;

fected by mould temperature and injection time. • At melt/mould temperature 255, 20C: 0.1–3.5 s;

On the other hand, maximum cooling time should • At melt/mould temperature 215, 60C: 0.3–3.5 s;

also be minimised, so as to reduce the moulding cycle • At melt/mould temperature 255, 60C: 0.1–5.3 s.

time and to raise productivity. In a moldﬂow ﬂow sim-

ulation, the cooling time is the additional time required All the lower bounds of the boundary injection time

ranges listed above are determined by the shear stress

requirement. The upper bounds of the ﬁrst three ranges

correspond to the minimum of cavity pressure, while

that of the last range is determined by the requirement

of ﬂow front temperature. These boundary injection

time ranges, together with the melt temperature range

and mould temperature range, determine the search

space.

For the hybrid optimisation algorithm, we use a step

value of 1C for both melt temperature and mould

temperature, and a step value of 0.1 s for injection

time.

For the GA algorithm, we use a population size of 20,

a commonly used value. The GA operation parameters

also utilise the commonly used values, that is, the

crossover rate is set as 0.9, while the mutation rate is set

as 0.005. To demonstrate that the hybrid method can

improve optimisation results regardless of the genera-

tion size used for the GA method, we test the generation

size by using both 30 and 50. Further more, since GA is

probabilistic, we run the hybrid optimisation process 10

times using each of these generation sizes. That is, in

Fig. 6 An oﬃce tray for case study total 20 runs have been carried out.

200

For the gradient algorithm, we select 20 elites from cooling time requirement, i.e. 0.4, is smaller than that for

the GA search results in each run. Both the optimisation shear stress requirement, i.e. 0.6.

results from the GA method and from the GA/gradient For both generation sizes, most of the runs from the

hybrid method are then reported. Tables 1 and 2 com- hybrid method have quality improvement than those

pare the GA and hybrid optimisation results between from GA method alone, which is averaged 2.97% for

these diﬀerent runs. All CAE analyses were conducted generation size 30 and 2.5% for generation size 50. This

on a Pentium III computer. Note that the computing shows that even when a large generation size is used, the

time is primarily but not solely determined by the hybrid method can still improve the optimisation results.

number of CAE analyses. It also shows that the optimisation results from the

GA method vary due to its opportunistic nature, while

those from the hybrid method are all the same, that is,

5 Discussions for all 20 runs, the optimal melt temperature is always

250C, mould temperature is 21C, and injection time

Table 3 compares the overall and average optimisation is 3.4 s. This phenomenon is due to the deterministic

results when two generation sizes are used. It shows that, nature of the gradient method. However, since the

overall, the optimal melt temperature is high, which is hybrid optimisation algorithm relies on the optimisa-

almost at the upper bound of the recommended melt tion results from the GA method, there is no guarantee

temperature range, while the optimal mould temperature that this phenomenon will occur for all optimisation

is almost at the lower bound of the recommended mould runs. That is to say, if more runs were conducted, it

temperature range. The optimal injection time is rela- could still be possible that the diﬀerent optimal

tively long, which is close to the upper bound of the moulding conditions are derived. Whatever it may be,

corresponding injection time range. This result tallies the case study did show that the GA/gradient hybrid

with the two quality measuring criteria deﬁned. An method has more stable optimisation results than the

intuitive explanation is that minimising maximum shear sole GA method.

stress requires a high melt temperature and low cavity Furthermore, the optimisation results from the hy-

pressure, where a low cavity pressure is indicated by a brid method when smaller generation size is used may

long injection time; while minimising maximum cooling still be better than those from sole GA method when

time requires a low mould temperature and long injec- larger generation size is used. Figure 7 shows two curves

tion time. Although a low melt temperature may con- of optimisation results versus run number. One of the

tribute to lower cooling time, the weighting factor for curves is the objective function value versus run number

Table 1 Comparisons of hybrid method with GA method (generation size: 30)

Run GA or Optimum moulding conditions Quality measuring criteria, objective function and Computation

no. hybrid improvement

Melt Mould Injection (a) Maximum (b) Maximum Objective Improvement No. of Computing

temperature temperature time (s) shear stress cooling time function (%) CAE time

(C) (C) (MPa) (s) (weights: analyses

0.6 for

(a), 0.4

for (b))

GA/gradient 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 389 2 h 8 m 58 s

2 GA 255 20 3.5 0.1069 14.25 0.149715 3.07 200 1 h 6 m 52 s

GA/gradient 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 389 2 h 8 m 26 s

3 GA 254 20 3.5 0.1075 14.2 0.149465 2.9 219 1 h 12 m 51 s

GA/gradient 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 299 1 h 38 m 54 s

4 GA 255 20 3.5 0.1069 14.25 0.149715 3.07 217 1 h 12 m 34 s

GA/gradient 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 390 2 h 9 m 15 s

5 GA 255 20 3.5 0.1069 14.25 0.149715 3.07 204 1 h 8 m 14 s

GA/gradient 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 329 1 h 49 m 4 s

6 GA 254 20 3.5 0.1075 14.2 0.149465 2.9 187 1 h 2 m 37 s

GA/gradient 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 287 1 h 35 m 15 s

7 GA 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 0 175 0 h 58 m 36 s

GA/gradient No new optimum found 311 1 h 43 m 13 s

8 GA 255 20 3.5 0.1069 14.25 0.149715 3.07 177 0 h 59 m 24 s

GA/gradient 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 346 1 h 54 m 52 s

9 GA 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 0 196 1 h 5 m 35 s

GA/gradient No new optimum found 270 1 h 30 m 2 s

10 GA 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 0 193 1 h 5 m 37 s

GA/gradient No new optimum found 378 2h6m9s

201

Run GA or Optimum moulding conditions Quality measuring criteria, objective function and Computation

no. hybrid improvement

Melt Mould Injection (a) Maximum (b) Maximum Objective Improvement No. of Computing

temperature temperature time (s) shear stress cooling time function (%) CAE time

(C) (C) (MPa) (s) (weights: analyses

0.6 for (a),

0.4 for (b))

GA/gradient 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 288 1 h 36 m 42 s

2 GA 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 0 204 1 h 19 m 53 s

GA/gradient No new optimum found 312 2 h 0 m 41 s

3 GA 255 20 3.5 0.1069 14.25 0.149715 3.07 211 1 h 23 m 16 s

GA/gradient 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 381 2 h 28 m 14 s

4 GA 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 0 239 1 h 20 m 27 s

GA/gradient No new optimum found 334 1 h 51 m 22 s

5 GA 251 20 3.4 0.1093 14.05 0.148718 2.42 198 1 h 17 m 52 s

GA/gradient 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 314 2 h 1 m 56 s

6 GA 252 20 3.4 0.1088 14.1 0.149316 2.81 265 1 h 44 m 14 s

GA/gradient 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 358 2 h 19 m 31 s

7 GA 255 20 3.5 0.1069 14.25 0.149715 3.07 179 1 h 9 m 19 s

GA/gradient 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 361 2 h 18 m 24 s

8 GA 255 20 3.5 0.1069 14.25 0.149715 3.07 177 0 h 59 m 24 s

GA/gradient 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 346 1 h 54 m 52 s

9 GA 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 0 196 1 h 5 m 35 s

GA/gradient No new optimum found 270 1 h 30 m 2 s

10 GA 251 21 3.4 0.1072 14.15 0. 146073 0.65 211 1 h 18 m 29 s

GA/gradient 250 21 3.4 0.1076 14.1 0.145125 366 2 h 8 m 58 s

size hybrid

Overall melt Overall mould Overall Average number Average quality

temperature (C) temperature (C) injection time (s) of CAE analyses improvement

for improved runs (%)

GA/gradient 250 21 3.4 339

50 GA 250–255 20–21 3.4–3.5 208 2.5

GA/gradient 250 21 3.4 333

size is 30 (their objective function values are the same for

the conducted 10 runs); the other is that from the GA

optimisation results when generation size is 50. As can

be seen, for most of the runs, the objective function

values from the hybrid method are smaller than (thus

quality higher than) those from the GA method, al-

though the former method uses smaller generation size

than the latter.

6 Conclusions

for injection moulding conditions optimisation has been Fig. 7 Hybrid optimisation results at smaller generation size as

presented. Although GA method is very suitable for compared with GA results at larger generation size

202

moulding conditions optimisation, it is not eﬃcient and 3. Choi GH, Lee KD, Chang N, Kim SG (1994) Optimisation of

sometimes ineﬀective in searching for the minimum process parameters of injection moulding with neural network

application in a process simulation environment. Ann CIRP

solution within an identiﬁed minimum region. This 43:449–452

deﬁciency can be easily compensated for by using a 4. Lee BH, Kim BH (1995) Optimisation of part wall thickness to

gradient method. For this purpose, our hybrid approach reduce warpage of injection-molded parts based on the modi-

employs GA method ﬁrst to identify candidate local ﬁed complex method. Polym Plastics Technol Eng 35(5):793–

822

minimum regions by deriving a number of elite solutions 5. Jan TC, O’Brien KT (1991) Architecture of an expert system

from the GA optimisation results. These elite solutions for injection molding problems. SPE ANTEC, pp 124–443

are then used as a starting point to initiate the gradient 6. Kameoka S, Haramoto N, Sakai T (1993) Development of an

method while searching for the local minima. The opti- expert system for injection molding operations. Adv Polym

mal moulding conditions are then derived by selecting Technol 63:403–418

7. Shelesh-Nezhad K, Siores E (1997) An intelligent system for

the best from among the solutions corresponding to plastic injection molding process design. J Materials Processing

these local minima. Technol 63:458–462

A case study has also been presented. It was found 8. Kwong CK, Smith GF, Lau WS (1997) Application of case

that the hybrid method can improve optimisation based reasoning in injection moulding. J Material Processing

Technol 63:463–467

quality for most of the optimisation runs, regardless of 9. Kim SJ, Lee K, Kim YI (1996) Optimisation of injection

what generation size is used for the GA search process; moulding conditions using Genetic Algorithm. In: Proceedings

and the hybrid method has more stable optimisation of SPIE—the international society for optical engineering,

results than the sole GA method. The case study also Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers, Belling-

ham, WA, USA 2644:173–180

showed that the optimisation results from the hybrid 10. Lee KS, Low CY, Rahman M, Zhang YF (2001) A genetic

method when a smaller generation size is used may still algorithm based process planning system for mould base. Int J

be better than those from sole GA method when a larger Comput Appl Technol 14(4, 5, 6):190–203

generation size is used. 11. Moldﬂow (1999) Moldﬂow plastic insight release 1.1 online

documentation

12. Britton GA, Lam YC, Deng YM (2002) Speciﬁcation model: a

Acknowledgements This project was supported by the Academic

ﬁrst step towards automatic interpretation of injection

Research Fund, Ministry of Education, Singapore and Moldﬂow

moulding CAE results. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 20(11):833–

Corporation.

843

13. Goldberg DE (1989) Genetic algorithms in search, optimisa-

tion, and machine learning. Addison-Wesley, Reading

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