Innovative plastic products and more efficient injection mold processes
Plastic components made by means of injection moulding are used in many products. Injection moulding, however, can be difficult to handle – especially if very fine structures in the plastic are needed. At the same time the process consumes a lot of energy. The consortium wanted to develop a new technique and new tools for moulding of plastic, which – at the same time – increased the quality of the injection moulding and lowered the consumption of energy in the process.
Budget: DKK 25.2 million.
Approval from the Danish Council for Technology and Innovation: DKK 10.9 million.
BETTER PLASTIC PRODUCTS WITH REDUCED CONSUMPTION OF RESOURCES
Injection moulded plastic components are used in everything from simple household products to advanced sensors and optical storage media. Today, the injection moulder is challenged both by the energy consumption of the process and by the quality that can be obtained. The consortium behind “Innomold” wishes to introduces a novel technology within injection moulding of plastic. By combining magnetic and non-magnetic materials in the moulding tool the consortium wants to develop a technology where induction heating produces an extremely fast and precise heating of the mould surface. This will make it possible to make melted plastic flow further into the mould – and deeper down into the microstructures – than what has been possible so far. The method will yield an ultrashort heating of a thin surface layer, so that the heat can be conducted away quickly, and the speed of production is maintained. The technique is expected to have a number of advantages such as increased quality of the plastic products, lower energy and material consumption, and, last but not least, an opening to new innovative applications of plastic components.
The new method means that:
- The pressure needed to fill a given mould decreases, and therefore less power or pressure is needed to produce the same workpiece.
- With the same equipment more thin-walled workpieces may be moulded, hereby saving both plastic material and energy.
- Lower pressure during the injection moulding reduces the inner tensions in the products. This means more accurate workpieces and less waste.
- When the melted polymer flows down into a mould with micro- or nanostructures in the surface, and this surface is briefly kept at an elevated temperature, the surface becomes more accurately copied.
Lego System A/S, DKI Plast A/S, Kaleido Technology ApS, Multi-Wing International A/S, Uddeholm A/S, GN Resound A/S
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
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