In this work, a gradient-based numerical optimization scheme is proposed to determine the optimal process operating conditions to produce a blow molded part by with a given performance. Finite element simulations are used to relate the part performance to the processing conditions. A performance optimization is first performed to find the minimum part thickness distribution that minimizes the part weight while satisfying mechanical performance constraints such as maximum part deflection or maximum stress for an applied load. Then a process optimization finds the optimal operating conditions, e.g. the die gap opening profile, that minimize the part weight while respecting the minimum thickness distribution dictated by the performance optimization. The results show that the optimization scheme minimizes the part weight with minimal constraint violation. The addition of a constraint associated with process stability is proposed.
Polymer Engineering and Science43, no. 7: 1407–1414.