In-line process measurements for injection moulding control. In-line rheology and primary injection phase process measurements for injection moulding of semi-crystalline thermoplastics, using instrumented computer monitored injection moulding machines, for potential use in closed loop process control
AuthorSpeight, Russell G.
SupervisorCoates, Philip D.
KeywordInjection moulding control
In-line nozzle rheometry
In-line capillary rheometry
In-line process measurements
Polymer melt rheology
Intelligent process control
Closed loop process control
Statistical process control
Accurate process measurements
The University of Bradford theses are licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.
InstitutionUniversity of Bradford
DepartmentDepartment in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
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AbstractIn-line rheological and process measurements are studied, during the primary injection phase, as a potential aid to closed loop process control for injection moulding. The feasibilities of attaining rheological and process measurements of sufficient accuracy and precision for use in process control are investigated. The influence of rheological and process measurements on product quality are investigated for semi-crystalline thermoplastic materials. A computer based process and machine parameter monitoring system is utilised to provide accurate and precise process data for analysis
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Correlating nano-scale surface replication accuracy and cavity temperature in micro-injection moulding using in-line process control and high-speed thermal imagingBaruffi, F.; Gülçür, Mert; Calaon, M.; Romano, J.-M.; Penchev, P.; Dimov, S.; Whiteside, Benjamin R.; Tosello, G. (2019-11)Micro-injection moulding (μIM) stands out as preferable technology to enable the mass production of polymeric components with micro- and nano-structured surfaces. One of the major challenges of these processes is related to the quality assurance of the manufactured surfaces: the time needed to perform accurate 3D surface acquisitions is typically much longer than a single moulding cycle, thus making impossible to integrate in-line measurements in the process chain. In this work, the authors proposed a novel solution to this problem by defining a process monitoring strategy aiming at linking sensitive in-line monitored process variables with the replication quality. A nano-structured surface for antibacterial applications was manufactured on a metal insert by laser structuring and replicated using two different polymers, polyoxymethylene (POM) and polycarbonate (PC). The replication accuracy was determined using a laser scanning confocal microscope and its dependence on the variation of the main μIM parameters was studied using a Design of Experiments (DoE) experimental approach. During each process cycle, the temperature distribution of the polymer inside the cavity was measured using a high-speed infrared camera by means of a sapphire window mounted in the movable plate of the mould. The temperature measurements showed a high level of correlation with the replication performance of the μIM process, thus providing a fast and effective way to control the quality of the moulded surfaces in-line.
Micromoulding: extreme process monitoring and in-line product assessment.Whiteside, Benjamin R.; Howell, Ken B.; Martyn, Michael T.; Spares, Robert (2009-06-08)Advances in micromoulding technology are now allowing mass production of complex, three-dimensional functional products having sub-milligram masses and carefully tailored surface finishes. In order to create a viable manufacturing process for these components, accurate process monitoring and product evaluation are essential in order to highlight process problems and production of substandard parts. The present study describes work implementing a suite of sensors on a commercial micromoulding machine for detailed process interrogation. Evaluation of demoulded products is performed with a single camera based system combined with custom software to allow for three-dimensional characterisation of products during the process.
Ultrasonic micromoulding: Process characterisation using extensive in-line monitoring for micro-scaled productsGülçür, Mert; Brown, Elaine C.; Gough, Timothy D.; Romano, J.-M.; Penchev, P.; Dimov, Stefan; Whiteside, Benjamin R. (2020-10)Industry-standard quality management systems such as Six Sigma and emerging Industry 4.0 compliant production processes demonstrate the importance of in-line condition monitoring of manufacturing methods for achieving the highest levels of product quality. Measurement data collected as the process is running can inform the operator about unexpected changes in machine operation or raw materials that could negatively impact production; and offer an opportunity for a process control intervention to stabilise production. However, micro-manufacturing production lines can pose a challenging environment for deploying such systems, since processing events can occur extremely rapidly and in harsh environments. Moreover, the small scale of micro-nano featured components can make sensor installation even more problematic. Recently, ultrasonic micromoulding has drawn attention in niche markets due to its unique advantages for processing thermoplastics as a new micro-manufacturing technology. The process differs from conventional moulding significantly by eliminating the need for a plasticising screw and using direct application of ultrasonic energy to melt the polymer. This offers numerous benefits such as decrease in energy usage, moulding at lower pressures, easier cleaning, and reduced material residence times, the latter which could be beneficial for pharma-grade polymers or polymers with active ingredients. However, very little work has been reported attempting to monitor the process using in-line measurements. This work aims to evaluate the characteristics of the ultrasonic micromoulding process for microinjection moulding of a microneedle array using a range of sensor technologies including: data recorded by the machine controller; a high-speed thermal camera and a cavity pressure transducer. The data has captured the highly dynamic process environment with a high degree of accuracy. The relationship between the process data and dimensional quality of the ultrasonically micromoulded products has been quantified and subsequently implemented as a cost-effective in-line quality assurance method.