In recent years, increased attention has been paid to the design of cooling systems in injection molding, as it became clear that cooling affects both productivity and part quality. In order to systematically improve the performance of a cooling system in terms of rapid, uniform, and even cooling, the designer needs a CAE analysis tool. For this, a computer simulation has been developed for three-dimensional mold heat transfer during the cooling stage of an injection molding process. In this simulation, mold heat transfer is considered as cyclic-steady, three-dimensional conduction; heat transfer within the melt region is treated as transient, one-dimensional conduction; heat exchange between the cooling channel surfaces and coolant is treated as steady, as is heat exchange with the ambient air and mold exterior surfaces. Numerical implementation includes the application of a hybrid scheme consisting of a modified three-dimensional, boundary-element method for the mold region and a finite-difference method with a variable mesh for the melt region. These two analyses are iteratively coupled so as to match the temperature and heat flux at the mold-melt interface. Using an example, the usefulness of the simulation developed here in the design of a cooling system for an injection molding process is amply demonstrated.

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