Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites

http://jrp.sagepub.com Neural Modeling of Parison Extrusion in Extrusion Blow Molding
Han-Xiong Huang and Song Lu Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites 2005; 24; 1025 DOI: 10.1177/0731684405048201 The online version of this article can be found at: http://jrp.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/24/10/1025

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Vol. Extrusion blow molded parts must meet strict dimension distribution requirements to provide the necessary strength and rigidity with minimum material usage. N IMPORTANT PHENOMENON in *Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. to the original BP algorithm are carried out to speed up learning. another phenomenon.00/0 DOI: 10. It has evolved from being a technique for producing packaging containers to a process for manufacturing industrial parts of automobiles. determining the number of hidden neurons through experimentation.Neural Modeling of Parison Extrusion in Extrusion Blow Molding HAN-XIONG HUANG* AND SONG LU Center for Polymer Processing Equipment and Intellectualization College of Industrial Equipment and Control Engineering South China University of Technology Guangzhou. etc. is sag or drawdown. E-mail: mmhuang@scut. [2]. It is both the swell and sag that determines the parison dimensions. office automation equipment. including the diameter and thickness.cn Journal of REINFORCED PLASTICS AND COMPOSITES. some modifications. Therefore. KEY WORDS: neural network. occurring during the parison extrusion stage in plastics extrusion blow molding. 24. swell.com at PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIV on February 5. 2008 © 2005 SAGE Publications. 10/2005 1025 0731-6844/05/10 1025–10 $10. parison extrusion. It has been demonstrated that nonlinear swells. it is critical to be able to predict the swell or sag of the parison during its extrusion. and so on. extrusion blow molding. In applying the BP network. No. The prediction of the parison diameter and thickness distributions can be made online at any parison length or any parison drop time within a given range using the trained models. sag. under the effect of sag. In addition to the extrudate swell. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. Extrusion blow molding is one of the most prominent plastics processing techniques because of a number of technical and economical advantages concerning the low-pressure characteristic of the process and the facility to produce complex-shaped parts with very thin walls.edu. .sagepub. INTRODUCTION A polymer melt extrusion is the swell of the extrudate as it leaves the extrusion die [1]. The final part dimension distributions are directly influenced by parison dimensions [3].1177/0731684405048201 ß 2005 Sage Publications Downloaded from http://jrp. Quite a good agreement has been reached between the predicted parison length and swells using the trained BP models and the experimentally determined ones. People’s Republic of China ABSTRACT: Back-propagation (BP) neural network is used to develop process models for the parison extrusion in extrusion blow molding based on experimental data. All rights reserved. such as using a self-adaptive learning rate coefficient. can be predicted within a reasonably adequate accuracy.

manufactured by Petrochina Daqing Petrochemical Co. EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE In order to develop ANN models. it is dependent on materials characteristics. swell or sag is a nonlinear behavior.-X. was used in this work. in order to obtain the neuron activation. So some modifications were carried out to the original BP algorithm to speed it up in this work. (3) it is sensitive to initial conditions. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. multiplies them by the corresponding connection weight and sums up all with a bias. developed by Rumelhart and his colleagues [9]. 2008 © 2005 SAGE Publications. power to extract useful information from examples. called neurons. Now many modifications have been proposed to improve the performance of the original BP algorithm [10–13]. All rights reserved.1026 H. (4) it may start oscillating.41 g/ 10 min and a solid density of 0. back-propagation (BP) neural networks were constructed to predict the parison dimensions affected by a combination of the swell and sag on the base of experiments. Moreover.8] preliminarily utilized the neural network method to predict the diameter and thickness swells of the parison in extrusion blow molding and showed that this method can predict the parison swells with a high degree of precision. is not a property that can be predicted accurately from measurements of molecular structure or from other rheological measurements. however.sagepub. and time after extrusion. An extrusion blow molding machine with a screw diameter of 45 mm and a length-to-diameter ratio of 25 : 1 was used. shown in Figure 1.com at PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIV on February 5. Downloaded from http://jrp. and capability of storing information implicitly in the connecting links in the form of weights. and so on. the experiments must be carefully planned to obtain the data. Furthermore. Back-propagation neural network. The parison profiles were monitored using the visualization technique developed by the authors. directly onto the hard disk of the computer.952 g/cm3. It comprises a highly interconnected set of processing units. Accurate numerical prediction of the swell and sag is quite difficult. A video capture system was employed to access the images of the parison online. Each neuron receives inputs. with an outer diameter (D0) of 25 mm and a lip gap (H0) of 2 mm. Huang and Liao [7. HUANG AND S. An extrusion blow molding grade HDPE 5300B resin. So parison extrusion is the most difficult-to-analyze stage in extrusion blow molding [2]. is now the most used training algorithm for multilayer feed-forward neural networks because of its simplicity. The original BP algorithm has been of great concern to practical users for many reasons: (1) it is extremely slow if it does converge. The capture system mainly includes a color video camera and a video capture card. the former is mounted perpendicular to the axis of the parison. die geometry. as mathematical models developed to mimic certain information storing and processing capabilities of the brain of higher animals. organized in layers. LU Swell or sag. (2) it may get stuck in local minima before learning all the examples. This means that the dependency between parison dimensions and materials characteristics. . processing conditions. Numerical simulations on the swell and sag involve significant simplifications and are quite time consuming [4–6]. The analog signal from the former is sent to the latter that digitizes and compresses the video images in one step. This resin has a melt index of 0. can model highly nonlinear systems without using complex deduction rules or large data. The parison extrusion die used is a convergent one. and the latter is installed in a personal computer. processing conditions. and die geometry is a nonlinear one. The neuron output is obtained by applying a function to this activation.. In this study. Artificial neural networks (ANNs).

4. and three different die temperatures. can be calculated on the basis of mass conservation: Dp À Hp ¼ 2 sffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi  2 Dp QÁt À 2 Ál ð1Þ where Q is the extrusion flow rate. Schematic of extrusion die of parison and its swells. 60 Downloaded from http://jrp. 15. Ink marks were put on the outer surface of the parison just below the die exit at the same time interval during the parison extrusion.2. were used. 150. The outer diameter corresponding to each ink mark and the distance between two adjacent ink marks were determined by analyzing the digitized video images of the parison. . 170. 250. were captured. the thickness (Hp) for each parison segment. 10. The swell of an annular parison (shown in Figure 1) is described using two swell ratios. four different extrusion flow rates. Twenty marks were put on the parison with different lengths.sagepub. Knowing the outer diameter (Dp) corresponding to each ink mark and the distance (Ál ) between two adjacent ink marks.8. and 230 C. 100. respectively.Neural Modeling of Parison Extrusion 1027 Figure 1. diameter swell (SD) and thickness swell (SH): SD ¼ SH ¼ DP D0 Hp H0 ð2Þ ð3Þ For each parison length.com at PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIV on February 5. Át the time between two adjacent ink marks. Thus. 200. In order to predict the dimensions of the parison during its extrusion using the neural network method. 200. and  the melt density of material used. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.3. The corresponding time when the parison reached each length was determined by analyzing the images.1 kg/h. and 17. namely. the images with five different parison lengths. 2008 © 2005 SAGE Publications. and 300 mm. All rights reserved. assumed cylindrical symmetry.

[14]) that ANNs with only one hidden layer can approximate any function. As can be observed. 60 sets of the drop time of the parison and its diameter and thickness swell values with different length extruded at different processing conditions. Figure 3 shows the SSE versus the number of hidden neurons after 10.. namely. . predicted diameter or thickness swells of 20 points along the parison during its extrusion process. hidden layer. die temperature (T ). This can be expressed as follows: The network models were trained with part patterns. L. were used. and 20 output parameters. All rights reserved. respectively. BP networks with three layers. T. using the same algorithm. selected randomly from the training patterns. respectively. and Q. The architecture of the network Model 2 includes three input parameters.sagepub. Here the number of hidden neurons was determined through experimentation.. Using insufficient neurons impairs the neural network and prevents the correct mapping of input to output. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. however. NEURAL NETWORK DESIGNING AND TRAINING Determination of the Network Architecture It has been shown (e. The architecture of the network model 1 includes three input parameters representing the parison drop time (t) from the start of extrusion. 2008 © 2005 SAGE Publications. Here two BP network models (shown in Figure 2) with three layers were constructed. and output layer. and stopped when there is no significant improvement in the sum of squared error (SSE) with further increase in the number of hidden neurons. the SSE decreases steeply at the initial stage of increasing the number of hidden neurons.g. input layer.1028 H. given that sufficient degrees of freedom (i. Downloaded from http://jrp. Schematic of BP neural network architecture.000 training iterations. The training started with one neuron and three neurons for Models 1 and 2.-X. is not a straightforward task.com at PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIV on February 5.e. Using too many neurons impedes generalization and increases training time. and just one output parameter representing the parison length (L) corresponding to the time of t. LU (5 Â 4 Â 3) sets of data. that is. HUANG AND S. but then Figure 2. connection weights) are provided. Hence. were obtained. The choice of an appropriate number of hidden layer neurons. and extrusion flow rate (Q).

9. 55 among the 60 data sets were used as training patterns to train the neural network to ascertain its weight and threshold values. The remaining five data sets were used as testing patterns to test the trained neural network to verify the model. 60 data sets were obtained from experiments by changing the die temperature. So the sigmoid activation function was used in this study. the curve flattens or exhibits some fluctuation. For Model 2. the convergence speed of the training procedure is obviously dependent on the learning rate coefficient and the momentum coefficient. because the sigmoid activation function modulates the output of each neuron to values between 0 and 1. respectively. Comparison of the sum of squared error (SSE) for the BP models with different hidden neurons. Thus. For Model 1. different initial weight distributions) did not have any significant impact on the learning speed and the generalization ability. For the BP network. and parison length for each network model. each value V is scaled to its normalized value V0 between 0.. It is generally believed that initial weight and threshold values have some influence on the convergence of the BP network.Neural Modeling of Parison Extrusion 1029 Figure 3. If the initial weights are too large. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. 2008 © 2005 SAGE Publications. extrusion flow rate. It has been shown that in many cases. .com at PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIV on February 5. Vmin and Vmax the minimum and maximum values of V. a sigmoid activation function yields good learning results [9]. Here initial weight and threshold values were randomly chosen between 0 and 1. and V0 the normalized data of the corresponding V. respectively. All rights reserved. Maier and Dandy [15] have showed that commencing training the BP networks from different points in weight space (i. 54 data sets were used as training patterns and the remaining six data sets were used as testing patterns. four and sixteen hidden neurons were finally determined for the network Models 1 and 2. The main Downloaded from http://jrp. It is usually necessary to preprocess the data before presenting the patterns to the BP network.e. Here the following normalization procedure was used: V0 ¼ V À Vmin  0:8 þ 0:1 Vmax À Vmin ð4Þ where V is the original data. Network Training and Testing As mentioned in the Experimental Section.1 and 0. the activation function of neurons (the sigmoid function) will very possibly reach saturation and thus.sagepub. From this figure. However. the whole BP network will get stuck in the local minima.

Q ¼ 4. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. Training was conducted by repeatedly accessing the entire set of training patterns.1. The learning rate coefficient was continuously modified during training. the network training was considered complete. Q ¼ 17.7.8 kg/h and (b) T ¼ 170 C. . RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The drop time of the parison when it reached a given length and its diameter swell were determined by analyzing its video images extruding at different die temperature.sagepub.8. the learning rate coefficient increasing factor was set at 1. The momentum coefficient was set at 0. HUANG AND S. extrusion flow rate.01. with the weights and thresholds updated at the end of each cycle. After being trained. 2008 © 2005 SAGE Publications. different from those used in the training stage in order to examine the validity of the models in predicting the outputs. Shown in Figure 4(a) is the parison diameter and thickness swells at a Figure 4. and parison length. or the number of training iterations reached a predetermined one (set at 50. (a) T ¼ 200 C. the initial learning rate coefficient was set at 0.-X.1030 H.1 kg/h. Experimentally determined diameter and thickness swells of the parison with different lengths.001 in this study). the networks were tested through several sets of input data. Then the parison thickness swell was calculated on the basis of diameter swell. All rights reserved.000 in this study). Once the SSE for the training patterns reduced within a given tolerance (set at 0. and different regions of the error surface may have different characteristic gradients that may require a dynamic change of learning rate coefficient based on the nature of the surface [11]. LU problem with the original BP algorithm is that it has a constant learning rate coefficient. Downloaded from http://jrp. and the learning rate coefficient decreasing factor was set at 0. So a modified BP learning algorithm was utilized with a momentum term and a self-adaptive learning rate coefficient.com at PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIV on February 5.

The SSE for the thickness swell is slightly larger than that for the diameter swell.68298 Downloaded from http://jrp. T. All rights reserved. L ¼ F (t. T.89153 0. Then combining these two models.00987 0. H). i. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. was developed.62126 0. the network Model 1 ascertains the quantitative relationship between the parison length and the parison drop time. i. die temperature.10711 0. Q.1 240.81890 0. and flow rate.sagepub.3 15..12 206. Q). i. Figure 4(b) shows the swells at 170 C and 17. the quantitative relationship between the parison swells and the parison drop time. Figure 5 compares the predicted parison diameter and thickness swells from the trained network Model 2 with corresponding experimental results.00638 0. Si ¼ f (t. However. the relative error is less than 0. die temperature. the neural network models are identified and can be used to predict the outputs from the measured process data. Table 2 gives the SSE for the parison swells predicted from Model 2. and flow rate.00644 Table 2. . whatever the diameter swell or the thickness swell.6 269. T).6 187. (i ¼ D. the parison length and swells.001). After being trained. Table 1 shows the relative error between the predicted parison length from Model 1 and the experimentally determined one.1 Drop time (s) 4 35 14 12 8 Die temperature ( C) 170 170 200 230 200 A (mm) 46.com at PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIV on February 5.e. 2008 © 2005 SAGE Publications. the trained neural network Models 1 and 2 show a high degree of prediction precision.1 kg/h.4 208.2 17.00702 0.Neural Modeling of Parison Extrusion 1031 die temperature of 200 C and a flow rate of 4. and Model 2 ascertains the quantitative relationship between the parison swells and the parison length.05 271. Thus. can be predicted from the processing parameters resorting Table 1. (i ¼ D.00572 0. Once being trained and tested. the SSE is very small (less than 0. Flow rate (kg/h) 4.e. Network inputs Die temperature ( C) 170 170 200 200 230 230 Flow rate (kg/h) 10.52873 0. Q).01 B (mm) 45. Training data were provided to the neural networks to train them. As can be seen.50321 0.1 4.. This means that the swells can be predicted at any time within a given range during parison extrusion process.01. The error between the predicted output value from the network model and the experimental value could be obtained after testing the trained network.8 10.3 17.8 4. Therefore.91 242. and flow rate.. Comparison yields a very good agreement between the two.2 4.29 189.62321 Thickness swell 0. Si ¼ G(L.67582 0. H).54367 0.38276 0.8 15.e. under the effect of sag. This may be attributed to the fact that the thickness swell was calculated indirectly from the measured diameter swell.2 Parison length (mm) 200 300 100 250 300 150 SSE (Â10À3) Diameter swell 0. die temperature. Comparison of predicted parison length (A) from Model 1 and experimentally determined one (B) and relative error (|A À B|/B) between the two.8 kg/h for five different parison lengths.08173 0.8 15.8 |A À B|/B 0. Sum of squared error (SSE) for predicted parison swells from Model 2.

the swells at the same distance from the die exit decrease gradually with the increasing parison length.3 kg/h. As can be seen. Figure 6 shows some results of the swell prediction of the parison with different lengths by the network models. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. Moreover. Figure 6. This is caused by gravity that acts on the suspended parison.-X. . Predicted diameter and thickness swells of the parison with different lengths from network models. Comparison of predicted diameter and thickness swells of parison from network Model 2 with experimental results. thereby reducing the amount of experimental work. after the parison length exceeds a certain value (about 100–150 mm). the swells at the bottom of the parison remain about the same values. Q ¼ 10. Q ¼ 8 kg/h and (b) T ¼ 180 C. All rights reserved. T ¼ 170 C.1032 H. to the network models. 2008 © 2005 SAGE Publications. (a) T ¼ 230 C. This Downloaded from http://jrp. HUANG AND S. Q ¼ 15 kg/h.com at PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIV on February 5. LU Figure 5.sagepub.

(2) 7. (5) 15. (2) 210. Q ¼ 13 kg/h. T ¼ 190 C. A back-propagation (BP) neural network based approach was applied to the experimental data. CONCLUSIONS The length evolution of the parison and its diameter and thickness swells during its extrusion in extrusion blow molding were experimentally investigated as a function of the processing parameters including the die temperature and flow rate. Figure 8. respectively. As expected. Downloaded from http://jrp. 2008 © 2005 SAGE Publications. is because that almost no gravity acts on the parison bottom and so the swells at the bottom are mainly affected by the viscoelastic recovery. For example. . which has completed after the parison reaches an enough length.0. Shown in Figures 7 and 8 are the parison diameter and thickness swells predicted by the network models at four different die temperatures and six different flow rates.0. Some modifications to the original BP algorithm were adopted to speed it up. All rights reserved.5. (3) 190.Neural Modeling of Parison Extrusion 1033 Figure 7.5. Predicted parison diameter and thickness swells from network models at four different die temperatures ( C): (1) 230.com at PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIV on February 5. swells increase as the melt temperature decreases or the flow rate increases. and (4) 170.0. it was demonstrated that the number of neurons in the hidden layer of BP network has some effects on its performance. leading to network models for predicting the parison dimension distributions online at any parison length or any parison drop time within a given range. and (6) 17. (4) 12.sagepub. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. Predicted parison diameter and thickness swells from network models at six different flow rates (kg/h): (1) 5. (3) 10.

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