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Engineering with Computers (2006) 21: 193–202

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

A GA/gradient hybrid approach for injection moulding conditions


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.
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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

is no need to specify the other three requirements as they


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.

3 Hybrid optimisation strategy and algorithm

3.1 GA/gradient hybrid strategy

Genetic Algorithm is an evolutionary computing


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.

Apart from these two situations, each elite solution


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.

3.2 GA optimisation process

The initial population is randomly chosen from within


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

3.3 Gradient optimisation process of xi+1


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
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after end of filling (filling analysis) or end of packing


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))

1 GA 249 22 3.4 0.1081 14.15 0.149216 2.74 218 1 h 11 m 36 s


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

Table 2 Comparisons of hybrid method with GA method (generation size: 50)

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))

1 GA 251 20 3.4 0.1093 14.05 0.148718 2.42 202 1 h 7 m 55 s


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

Table 3 Comparisons of overall and average results within a generation size

Generation GA or Optimum moulding conditions Comparisons


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 (%)

30 GA 249–255 20–22 3.4–3.5 199 2.97


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

from the hybrid optimisation results when generation


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

In the previous sections, a GA/gradient hybrid approach


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

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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.
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