Visibility-based conformal cooling channel generation for rapid tooling

K. M. Au, Kai Ming Yu, W. K. Chiu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


In plastic injection moulding process, cooling channel design is an essential factor that affects the quality of the moulded parts and the productivity of the process. Non-uniform cooling or long cooling cycle time would result if a poorly designed cooling channel is adopted. Due to limitations of traditional machining processes, the cooling channel is usually formed from straight-line drilled holes and only simple shapes are allowed, regardless of the shape complexity of the part being moulded. With the advent of rapid tooling technology, cooling channels in complex shapes can now be possible. However, there are not many design methodologies for supporting this type of cooling channel. In this paper, a methodology called visibility-based cooling channel generation is proposed for automatic preliminary cooling channel design for rapid tooling. The cooling process between a mould surface and a cooling channel is considered analogous to whether they can be visible from each other. Without loss of generality, the mould surface is approximated by a polyhedral terrain and is normally offset. A number of point light sources together that can illuminate the whole polyhedral terrain are assigned to suitable terrain offset vertices. A cooling channel is then generated by connecting all the assigned light sources. When comparing the conventional verification and redesign methods by melt flow analysis, computer-aided design and, a better design of cooling channel for its mould surface results in a short time independent of the experience of mould engineer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-373
Number of pages18
JournalCAD Computer Aided Design
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011


  • Cooling channel
  • Polyhedral terrain
  • Rapid tooling
  • Visibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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