||A formalized approach based on scientific methodologies that enables the systematic integration of multiple technologies into products|
|(1) Exploitation and use of the benefits of integrating technologies into products
(2) Development of a holistic design and qualification methodology (deterministic description models, evaluation models, cybernetic design models) for integrated multi-technology products
Based on the analysis of the production processes regarding relevant product/ process interdependencies, a quantitative and methodical understanding of product generation is sought within the scope of the research area Multi-Technology Products. The relevant interdependencies are being investigated, evaluated and quantified with the help of three example products resulting from the first funding period (micro-structured plastics optics, plastic bonded electronic parts, light-weight structural components) in order to identify the significant interdependencies that deliver the basis for the layout of different integrated multi-technology production systems.
The development of a continuous process chain to produce monolithic polymer optics is investigated in this test case. The workflow of the research partners concerning the process chain was further improved in the past. Ceramic hard coatings with suitable properties for the ensuing laser structuring and molding of different optical polymers were successfully developed. The coated tools were successfully nanostructured in the following process step using direct laser ablation. Subsequently, nanostructured optical polymer components were successfully reproduced by variothermic injection molding. Figure 1 shows the hybrid optical surfaces on polymer components created with a coated and laser structured injection molding tool.
Electrical plastic components
Using „In-Mold-Metal-Spraying (IMMS)“, the inline application of thermally sprayed metal coatings on plastic components during the injection molding process is supposed to be facilitated. Therefore, this technology offers the possibility to open new design paths for metallized plastic components as well as to produce existing metallized plastic components more efficiently and cost-effective. This technique was brought closer to high-volume maturity by the development of a modular injection molding tool in 2015. Thereby, a metallic coating is firstly applied on an insert and subsequently transferred onto the injection molding component. Both demonstrator components are illustrated in figure 2. In addition to the successful transfer of complex geometries the influence of different tool steels on the coatings transferability as well as the influence of varying injection molding parameters on the warpage of the plastic components was investigated.
Superimposed loads often occur in structural components. One approach for weight-optimized production of complex structural components is the Multi-Material-Design in which different materials are joined. Thereby, metal-plastic composites exhibit an especially promising potential. Hereby, the joinings are posing as potential weak points. Conventional joining techniques are often associated with the use of additional components and therefore increasing weight. Hence, the development of joining techniques for metal-plastic hybrid structural components shows important research demand. Direct thermal joining of metal-plastic hybrid components is especially adequate for that. Figure 3 shows the fractured surface of such a joining after destructive testing. It is apparent that the plastic has cohesively failed in the area of undercuts and, as a result, the composite strength is not defined by the joining in this area. For this purpose a new injection molding tool for the production of metal-plastic hybrid components was commissioned in 2015.
The planned work for the test case optical components includes a further improvement of the process steps coating, laser structuring and molding as well as a closer connection between the steps in the process chain. The improvements culminate in the prototyping of a functionalized freeform surface to project a QR-code. Planned within the test case electrical components is to investigate the influence of process parameters of thermal spraying on the coating transferability in greater depth. Furthermore, the potential use of a CO2 snow blasting system to clean the used tools will be investigated. Amongst others, the construction of a system for direct thermal joining with conductive resistance heating is planned within the test case structural components.
Find out more:
Technical Demonstrator "Monolithic Plastics Optics"
Technical Demonstrator "Structural Parts"
Technical Demonstrator "Integrating Electrical Functionalities in Plastics Parts"