Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop a new rectilinear branch pipe‐routing algorithm for automatic generation of rectilinear branch pipe routes in constrained spaces of aero‐engines. Design/methodology/approach – Rectilinear branch pipe routing that connects multiple terminals in a constrained space with obstacles can be formulated as a rectilinear Steiner minimum tree with obstacles (RSMTO) problem while meeting certain engineering rules, which has been proved to be an NP‐hard and discrete problem. This paper presents a discrete particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithm for rectilinear branch pipe routing (DPSO‐RBPRA) problems, which adopts an attraction operator and an energy function to plan the shortest collision‐free connecting networks in a discrete graph space. Moreover, this paper integrates several existing techniques to evaluate particles for the RSMTO problem in discrete Manhattan spaces. Further, the DPSO‐RBPRA is extended to surface cases to adapt to requirements of routing pipes on the surfaces of aero‐engines. Findings – Pipe routing numeral computations show that, DPSO‐RBPRA finds satisfactory connecting networks while considering several engineering rules, which demonstrates the effectiveness of the proposed method. Originality/value – This paper applies the Steiner tree theory and develops a DPSO algorithm to plan the aero‐engine rectilinear branch pipe‐routing layouts.
Assembly Automation – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 27, 2011
Keywords: Aircraft engines; Pipe routing; Rectilinear paths; Branches; Particle swarm optimization; Steiner tree; Programming and algorithm theory