Mould design

Improving cooling inserts with evolutionary theory

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Moulds, like the world, are increasing in complexity

Growing functional integration and increased customer demands have resulted in increasingly complex mould technology. Consequently, the available space for the tempering system is limited by numerous elements like slide bars, splits, ejector systems and additional functional groups.

As a result, the location of a suitable course for the tempering channels is often not evident, and their determination can require much of the time in mould development. Furthermore, a proposed course of the tempering channels should be validated through injection moulding simulation during the thermal mould design. Using simulation in the design stage can save a lot of money because this method can anticipate problems occurring later and be remedied before hand, such as the exact course of the cooling channels. On the other hand, iterative mould design with several development loops requires a lot of time, which can lead to competitive disadvantage and a lower profitability.

The Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) at the RWTH Aachen University has therefore been examining possible ways to shorten thermal mould design and speed up mould development in general. An interesting concept is the use of evolutionary algorithms to automatically generate the course of the tempering channels. These algorithms were developed in parallel in the United States and Germany in the late fifties and mid-sixties with a slightly different approach.