Investigation of product and process fingerprints for fast quality assurance in injection molding of micro-structured components

Nikolaos Giannekas*, Per Magnus Kristiansen, Yang Zhang, Guido Tosello

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Injection molding is increasingly gaining favor in the manufacturing of polymer components since it can ensure a cost-efficient production with short cycle times. To ensure the quality of the finished parts and the stability of the process, it is essential to perform frequent metrological inspections. In contrast to the short cycle time of injection molding itself, a metrological quality control can require a significant amount of time and the late detection of a problem may then result in increased wastage. This paper presents an alternative approach to process monitoring and the quality control of injection molded parts with the concept of "Product and Process Fingerprints" that use direct and indirect quality indicators extracted from part quality data in-mold and machine processed data. The proposed approach is based on the concept of product and process fingerprints in the form of calculated indices that are correlated to the quality of the molded parts. A statistically designed set of experiments was undertaken to map the experimental space and quantify the replication of micro-features depending on their position and on combinations of processing parameters with their main effects to discover to what extent the effects of process variation were dependent on feature shape, size, and position. The results show that a number of product and process fingerprints correlate well with the quality of the micro features of the manufactured part depending on their geometry and location and can be used as indirect indicators of part quality. The concept can, thus, support the creation of a rapid quality monitoring system that has the potential to decrease the use of off-line, time-consuming, and detailed metrology for part approval and can thus act as an early warning system during manufacturing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number661
JournalMicromachines
Volume9
Issue number12
Number of pages23
ISSN2072-666X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Precision injection molding
  • Process fingerprint
  • Process monitoring
  • Product fingerprint
  • Quality control

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