Assisted injection moulding-based technologies will be developed, as they are the perfect candidates to achieve cost-efficient production of highly reproducible and highly reliable 3D plastic parts with functional micro- and nanostructured surfaces.
The filling of micro- and nanostructured moulds requires the optimal control of the polymer flow during the injection process. This will be achieved, notably by implementing peripheral technologies like rapid heating & cooling (e.g. using pressurized water-based system involving optimized cooling channels in mould made with Selective Laser Melting of metal powder, inductive heating, etc.) and vacuum technologies.
The optimal filling of the micro- and nanostructured moulds is not sufficient to ensure the quality of the final polymer parts. The replicated micron and sub-micron structures can be irreversibly damaged during the demoulding step, especially on 3D parts. Innovative solutions of assisted demoulding based on ultrasonic technologies are proposed in this project.
Innovation : Highly efficient injection moulding-based replication process for 3D micron /sub-micron structured plastic parts
- Significant reduction of the damaging of the micron / sub-micron structures / patterns during demoulding: defect-free area of the patterned surface above 90%.
- 100% filling of the micron and sub-micron structured mould cavities thanks to the development of peripheral technologies (compared to the 60 to 70% filling achieved with standard IM process)
- IM cycle time increase due to peripheral technologies implementation maintained below 10% (compared to standard IM process).
Innovation : Ultrasonic demoulding
- Ultrasonic waves are used in IM platforms to remove polymers fragments from metal inserts for cleaning purpose, but never applied at industrial level for polymer part demoulding
- Efficiency of the surface coating of moulds and mould inserts for reducing the demoulding forces is already described in the literature, but not yet applied in industrial cases