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Injection molded and then electroplated plastic parts are mainly made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) or polycarbonate/acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (PC/ABS) blends. Nevertheless, compared to these materials, polyamide (PA) has superior physical properties. However, the coating quality is inferior to that of conventional polymers and the scrap rates of 25% to 30% are higher. The coating quality depends not only on the electroplating parameters but also on the surface of the injection molded part. The aim of this paper is to determine the influence of injection molding parameters on the surface structure of injection molded, mineral-filled polyamide parts. Therefore, mineral-filled polyamide parts are produced in a full-factorial design of experiments (DoE) and electroplated subsequently. Afterwards, surface parameters from DIN EN ISO25178 are determined by confocal microscopy for different pre-treatments of the electroplating process chain and at different positions.
A novel approach of producing foamed polyamide/ glass fiber (PA/GF) composite parts using gas-laden pellets was proposed. Gas-laden pellets loaded with nitrogen (N2) were produced by introducing sub-critical N2 into PA/GF during compounding using a twin-screw extruder equipped with a simple gas injection unit. Compared to the commercial microcellular injection molding (MIM) technologies, gas-laden pellets enable production of foamed parts with a standard injection molding machine, which is more cost-effective and easier to operate. The shelf life of N2-laden PA/GF pellets was examined. Results showed that the N2-laden pellets still possessed good foaming ability after one week of storage under the ambient atmospheric conditions. With this approach, the weight reduction of foamed PA/GF parts was able to reach 12.0 wt%. The tensile strength, cell morphology, and densities of foamed PA/GF parts were also investigated.
Co-injection molding has been developed for decades. However, due to too many factors which can affect its processing, it is very difficult to obtain good quality of co-injected products all the time. One of the major challenges is that the prediction and management of the advancement of core material is very difficult. In this study, both CAE simulation (Moldex3D) and experimental methods have been applied to investigate the advancement distance of core material in co-injection molding based on the standard tensile bar (ASTM D638 TYPE V) system. Specifically, the flow behavior of the core material has been predicted numerically and verified experimentally through short shot testing, and skin/core ratio effect testing. Moreover, based on the optimized skin core ratio, the major factors to influence of the advancement of core materials have been conducted. Finally, to quantify the advancement of the core material in co-injection molding, both simulation prediction and experimental observation were performed. Results showed that the advancement of the core material is strongly proportional to the core ratio in co-injection molding system. Moreover, the flow rate and the different skin/core material arrangement also can influence the advancement of the core material.
This research was focused on the synergistic effect of nucleating agents and an oscillatory motion on the crystallinity development of poly-lactic acid (PLA) during vibration assisted injection molding (VAIM). A differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) study was performed to understand the efficacy of orotic acid, a nucleating agent for 2500 HP PLA, under quiescent conditions. A new protocol for quantitative characterization of crystallization kinetics from DSC data was developed to gain insight on the crystallization kinetics. It was observed that the 1 wt.% orotic acid provided significant enhancement in crystallization kinetics. The isothermal crystallization, injection molded and VAIM data obtained from DSC were compared. The shear stresses introduced during traditional injection molding enhanced PLA crystallization at 90°C and 70° C mold temperature as compared to crystallization under quiescent conditions. The crystallization was enhanced by ~250% when VAIM was introduced at 70°C mold temperature as compared to traditional injection molding was observed. The effect of VAIM was nominal when the mold temperature was 90°C indicating that VAIM is more effective at lower mold temperatures.
A Kenics static mixer was introduced into the runner system of a convex-concave circular disc mold and simulated using Moldex3D. The set-up was tested with two mixers with the same diameter, length, and pitch but different mixer element thickness as well as various polymer resins with different rheological properties. The maximum sprue pressure rose with increasing mixer thickness but stayed within normal machine capabilities. Overall, simulations with the thin mixer exhibited improvements regarding melt homogeneity and part quality for polymers such as polyamide 6 (PA6), polycarbonate (PC), and poly-propylene (PP), while the thick mixer had a neutral or negative effect on the same properties. The fiber analysis showed a decrease in fiber alignment in runs including a mixer. Polymers with more extreme rheological properties, such as polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), revealed unsatisfactory results.
This paper compares the strain-rate behavior of injection and compression molded Polycarbonate plates in compression through Split Hopkinson Pressure Bar (SHPB) experiments. The samples are tested under strain rates ranging from 0.01 to 6,000 /s and at a temperature ranging from - 25°C to 75°C. The difference in mechanical response of specimens fabricated using the two different processes is relatively well understood when tested in plane and is influenced by the different molecular orientation distributions resulting from processing [1-4]. However, there has not been a systematic study of out-of-plane response of such materials, particularly for higher strain rates relevant to impact performance of Polycarbonate. The results of this study suggest that an orientation distribution difference between the samples fabricated via the two paths may not fully account for the observed differences, which become more pronounced at the higher ranges of strain rate based on SHPB testing.
A novel processing innovation called Rheodrop technology is introduced for hot runner based injection molding. The goal is to enable both optimized processing and properties of final molded parts. The technology applies a controlled shear rate to the polymer melt during and/or in between injection molding cycles by rotating the valve pin inside a hot drop nozzle. Doing so can eliminate defects such as incomplete filling which was focused on during this study. This issue was investigated through both simulation and experimental analysis. Moldflow software was utilized to study the effect of melting temperature on cavity filling. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) was chosen as a focus material, and three different melt temperature levels were selected. The cavities are perfectly filled at the highest melt temperature level with incomplete filling resulting at the lower levels. Implementation of the Rheodrop technology then produced consistent and complete filling throughout the melt temperature range studied.
The combination of different special processes allows the production of complex hybrid component structures with simultaneous function integration, thus opening up a large portfolio of possibilities. One example of this is the combination of back-injection of thermoformed organo sheets with the GITBlow process. An organo sheet is back-injected by two components, whereby one of the two components is additionally formed by the GITBlow process. The separation of the two cavities during the filling process by the formed organo sheet is a challenge not to be underestimated. The investigations refer to the simulative analysis of the filling process of the cavities. Here, the melt displacement into the secondary cavity during the first gas injection and the influence of the separation of the two cavities are considered. Investigations show that the melt temperature, the gas pressure and the injection speed have the greatest influence on the filling of the cavity separation.
This paper will show that an iMFLUX® constant pressure process can significantly reduce molding pressure requirements compared to conventional velocity controlled injection molding while molding a part with an equal length to thickness ratio. A significant pressure reduction is observed for all materials; regardless of material type or family. All comparisons in this paper are based on the maximum achievable flow length of a conventional velocity controlled process for each material.
The main target for Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA) is to integrate multiple components with multiple functions to minimize cost and efforts. In addition, a family mold system has been utilized in industrial manufacturing to make a series integrated components for years. However, there is very few information to the degree of assembly for a single component or components. In this study, we have tried to investigate the degree of assembly using a family mold system with two different components. The study methods include numerical simulation and experimental observation. Firstly, we have adopted packing pressure as the practical operation parameter to affect the variation of degree of assembly. Then the pre-defined characteristic lengths can be utilized to catch the degree of assembly. Results showed that when a higher packing pressure applied in injection molding, it will results in more difficulty in the assembly for Part A and B by numerical prediction. Furthermore, the experimental validation on the degree of assembly based on the characteristic lengths has also performed. The tendency is quite consistent for both numerical simulation and experimental estimation. However, there is some gap between simulation prediction and experimental measurement for the same operation condition setting. It is necessary to make further study in the future.
The design of a multivariate sensor is detailed that incorporates a spring-biased pin for measuring in-mold shrinkage. The sensor also includes a piezoelectric ring for measurement of polymer melt pressure and an infrared detector for measurement of the polymer melt temperature and the local mold temperature. As a result, the multivariate shrinkage sensor can accurately measure cavity pressure, melt temperature, ejection temperature, various event timings, and in-mold shrinkage to closely estimate the total shrinkage. The performance of the sensor is validated with a design of experiments for a high impact polystyrene (HIPS) and polypropylene (PP).
A major challenge in the injection molding of wood fiber reinforced thermoplastics, so-called Wood-Plastic-Composites (WPC), lies in the flow anomalies that occur during the cavity filling process. The melt front is brittle and breaks open at unpredictable points. Particularly at wood contents above 40 % by weight stream flow (jetting phenomenon) caused by wall slipping occurs more frequently, which in turn leads to undesired weld lines. In this study, an analysis method is presented, which allows a quantitative evaluation of the filling process. The methodology is applied to different WPC formulations. Higher wood content, low viscous matrix polymers and coarser particles lead to poorer filling behavior overall. In order to reduce the flow anomalies, chemical blowing agent is added to the WPC. This should reduce the viscosity and thus the elasticity of the melt. It has been shown that reducing the viscosity has no positive influence on the filling behavior. An improvement could only be achieved with the lowest viscosity formulation. However, the explanation for this is seen in the comparatively lower resistance of the melt to the expansion of the blowing agent, as a result of which the melt is pressed more strongly against the mold wall and wall slipping is thus rather suppressed.
Polymer producers and converters are continuously evaluating potential options to reduce costs by producing faster, reducing energy consumption, reducing scrap and improving article properties. Recently, however, sustainability and overall environmental impact have also become prominent themes for converters, as a result of the pressure to minimize the footprint of the plastics industry on the environment. Polyolefin blown film and injection molding are large polymer conversion market segments that have received significant attention in terms of equipment improvements and formulating principles. Processing aides are commonly used in blown film extrusion and injection molding. Specifically in injection molding, silicone spray is used to ease the removal of the article from the mold, thereby saving cycle time. Silicone spray is, however, difficult to remove from the final part. An alternative is to use higher molecular weight Fischer-Tropsch (FT) hydrocarbons as a polymer processing aide and mold release agent due to good compatibility with the polymer compound matrix. This paper gives an overview of the use of FT hydrocarbons as processing aides in injection molding. Examples of more than 15 years of experience in the global marketplace, ranging from the production of small to large articles, are shown. Formulating with these hydrocarbons allows the converter to reduce cycle time, produce faster to reduce labor, to reduce energy consumption and improve certain properties of the injection molded article. Ultimately FT as a polymer processing aide could be an important tool to a converter to reduce manufacturing costs and improve quality.
This study investigates the impact of two different processing methods, Injection molding (IM) and 3D printing (3Dp), on Neat/unfilled polylactic acid (NPLA) and the short carbon fibers (SCFs) filled polylactic acid (SPLA). Furthermore, the resulting processing conditions and its influence on mechanical properties, such as tensile, flexural, notched Charpy impact test, and heat deflection temperature (HDT) along with the process-induced effects, such as fiber length distribution and voids were studied. The process-induced voids were evident in all the computed tomography (CT) scans, 3Dp specimens have higher void volume fraction compared to no visible voids in IM specimens. Similarly, the mechanical test results such as tensile, flexural and notched Charpy impact test follow the trend for 3Dp SPLA and IM SPLA. On the contrary, 3Dp 0° and ±45° NPLA tensile test results are comparable to IM NPLA, whereas 3Dp 0° NPLA has the highest impact resistance compared to injection molded NPLA and SPLA as well as 3Dp SPLA specimens, indicating the annealing effect induced by the heated 3D printing bed along with increased void volume fraction. Furthermore, the HDT study indicates the maximum serviceable temperature of both NPLA and SPLA remained comparable regardless of the processing method. Moreover, the change in fiber length distribution for SPLA injection molded and extruded filament specimens were negligible.
In plastic part production, 3D metal printing is a leading manufacturing method for fast, waste-less, and high-accuracy way for making molds with conformal cooling channels. In this automotive power supply test-seat assembly case, the development process combines injection molding simulation, 3D metal printing technology and real experiments to demonstrate an effective mold development approach. Simulation-driven conformal cooling design minimizes the mold temperature difference and significantly reduces part deformation from the traditional straight-line cooling design. Through 6 sets of distance detection, the product dimensions are optimized and can improve the fitting of the three assemblies.
Vibration assisted injection molding (VAIM) is a process in which a controlled oscillatory movement is introduced to the injection screw during injection molding. This research was focused on the effect of processing parameters on crystallinity and the crystal structures of poly-lactic acid (PLA) during VAIM. It was observed that vibration assisted injection molded PLA products have higher crystallinity than conventionally molded PLA products under similar conditions. Additionally, the cycle time for fabricating PLA parts can be reduced utilizing VAIM without significant loss of crystallinity. The growth of α´ phase of PLA during VAIM and conventional injection molding process was investigated utilizing an X-Ray diffraction technique. A slight phase change from α´ to α phase can be observed in VAIM samples fabricated under certain conditions. The mean size of crystal structures decreased as VAIM frequency increased to 30Hz.
As injection molding represents a highly automated, but to the same extend complex manufacturing process to produce e.g. plastic parts without the necessity of post-processing, many efforts focus on compensating fluctuations and reproducing part quality. Injection molding simulation therefore offers the opportunity to determine a valid operating point even before start of production. However, the machine-specific process behavior and the individual machine setup limit transferability of simulated process parameters. Standardized interfaces like OPC-UA for continuous communication with the injection molding machine offer plenty of data from the running production process. Machine data about e.g. screw movements thereby reflect the real-time machine behavior. By analyzing the injection phase at varying injection flow, dosing volume and nozzle temperature with respect to the resulting part weight and the melt cushion, a machine-specific transmission behavior has been observed to adjust settings on different machines based on OPC-UA data.
A complex piece of sporting equipment was molded to customer satisfaction, meeting critical dimensions despite complicated tooling and the use of a crystalline resin. Combining modern simulation techniques and industry expertise proved to be a winning strategy in solving this challenge. The use of post-molding, warp controlling fixtures was completely eliminated from the legacy production process, leading to improved part performance and plant efficiency.
Currently, only specially treated and compacted carbon fiber recycles can be fed into the twin screw extruder. In this paper, different delivery forms of fibers are characterized in terms of the product quality. The differences between the fibers for twin screw extrusion is illustrated.
Fiber-reinforced polymers have gained popularity in various industries over the past years, as they allow the reduction of products' structural weight without compromising on performance. The material and mechanical properties of such polymer composites are mainly dependent on those of the fibers included in the polymer matrix. It is therefore crucial to be able to predict the fiber orientation in the injection-molded part during the design process. Simulation techniques offer an efficient and cost-friendly way to perform such predictions early on in the development process. However, accurate simulative predictions necessitate precise material models. Therefore, in this work, the prediction accuracy of three fiber orientation models are compared to experimental fiber orientation data obtained from high-resolution x-ray micro-computed tomography (µCT) scans for two different geometries. The models used to describe the fiber orientation in the Moldflow® simulation are a Solver API-implemented pARD-RSC model with shear-fitted parameters, an MRD model with Moldflow® default parameters and an RSC model with Moldflow® default parameters. Through the performed comparison, it was found that today’s state-of-the-art models are still unable to predict the fiber orientation for variant flow regimes and different part geometries accurately. This shortcoming was mainly highlighted for elongational flows.
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