Process monitoring of microinjection molding (μ-IM) is of crucial importance in understanding the effects of different parameter settings on the process, especially on its performance and consistency with regard to parts' quality. Quality factors related to mold cavity air evacuation can provide valuable information about the process dynamics and also about the filling of a cavity by a polymer melt. In this paper, a novel experimental setup is proposed to monitor maximum air flow and air flow work as an integral of the air flow over time by employing a microelectromechanical system gas sensor mounted inside the mold. The influence of four μIM parameters, melt temperature, mold temperature, injection speed, and resistance to air evacuation, on two air flow-related output parameters is investigated by carrying out a design of experiment study. The results provide empirical evidences about the effects of process parameters on cavity air evacuation, and the influence of air evacuation on the part flow length. © 2011 American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
- Microinjection molding
- Process monitoring