Control of Final Part Dimensions in Polymer Extrusion Using a Variable-Geometry Die

[+] Author and Article Information
Lawrence Funke

Member of ASME, Mechanical Engineering Department, Ohio Northern University, Ada, OH 45810

James Schmiedeler

Fellow of ASME, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4039652 History: Received August 11, 2017; Revised March 08, 2018


Parts made via polymer extrusion are currently limited to a constant cross section. Additionally, the process is difficult to control, so desired final part dimensions are often achieved via a manual trial-and-error approach to parameter adjustment. This work seeks to increase the capability of polymer extrusion by using iterative learning control (ILC) to regulate the final width of a rectangular part through changing the width of a simple variable-geometry die. Simulation results determine the appropriateness of the learning algorithm and gains to be used in experiment. A prototype die on a production extruder was used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach. These experiments achieved automated control over both gross change in shape and final part dimension when the puller speed was held constant, which has not been seen previously in the literature.

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