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CAEDSMouldDesign

Multicomponentinjectionmoulding
SchoolofTechnologyandManagement,PolytechnicInstituteofLeiria

AccordingtoVogel[1],ithasbeenwellrecognizedthatmanmadeobjectsareprimar Introduction ily made up of relatively rigid materials, while natural objects are made with soft compliant materials, using rigid materials such as bones and teeth only in select places.Ithasbeensuggestedthatthisdistinctdifferenceoccursfromtheassemblyand production methods for each of the products. The fundamental requirement for natu ral structures is the absence of assembly. The entire system must be grown from a source or cell as a single entity [2]. In addition, absence of assembly in production methods,reductionofweight,andpartcountfoundincompliantmechanismsalllead to the reduction of cost to manufacture the product. Several studies have indicated that assembly costs make up 4050% of the manufacturing costs to produce a product [2]. Therefore any decrease in part count and manufacturing cost, no matter how minimal, will haveadrastic effect on the total cost of the product.The use of multiple differentmaterialsinproductsopensupthedesignspaceconsiderably. Layered manufacturing processes, such as stereolithography, selective laser sintering, shape deposition modelling, and 3D printing are utilized for making multimaterial (MM) products [3, 4]. While these processes can create intricate and complex geome tries as well as material distributions, they are not suitable for mass production in most cases. A more suitable technique that has emerged for the manufacturing of multimaterial products is MM moulding. MM moulding creates a part with two or morematerialsviaamultistagemould[3]. Multimaterial objects (MMOs) are defined as the class of objects consisting of two or more different materials; that is, they are heterogeneous [5]. MMOs can have either continuouslyvarying material compositions or discrete sections of different homoge nous materials. An example of the former type of MMO is functionally graded materials or functionally gradient materials (FGMs) [6]. FGMs are advanced composite structures in which the composition changes gradually over the volume, resulting in corresponding changes in the properties of the structure. An example of thelattertypeofMMOisanytwotypeofobjectwithdistinctinterfacesorboundaries separating the various materials. An example of each type of MMO is given in Figure 1[5].

Figure1a)Twotypesofmultimaterialobjects.Discretematerials(left)and FGM(right)[5].

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CAEDSMouldDesign As mentioned above, Layered manufacturing techniques can be used to produce FGMs. Moreover, various polymer moulding techniques can be used to produce MMOs with discrete material sections. However, this chapter is only focused on manufacturing discretesectioned MMOs using multimaterial injection moulding processes. Therefore, the term MMO will refer only to discrete sectioned heteroge neousobjectsproducedviamultimaterialmoulding(MMM). MMM is usually accomplished through some form of specialized injection moulding technique. This means that the various polymers composing the different material sections are heated to their melting temperatures, then injected in sequence into a mouldorsetofmoulds.Theliquefiedpolymersthensolidifyintotheirdesiredshapes bytakingontheformofthemouldcavitiesinwhichtheyreside. Because MMM techniques can be significantly different than traditional single mate rialmoulding(SMM),somenewterminologyhasbeenadoptedtobetterexplainthese techniques and processes. The term moulding stage refers to a single step in the moulding process in which one of the materials is injected into the mould. For exam ple, an object composed of three different material sections has three distinct moulding stages (one for each material). Because most moulding involves injecting or shooting the polymer into the mould cavity, the word shot is sometimes used in stead of stage [6]. Two more terms that arise frequently in the context of MMM are substrate and overmould. The substrate is the material that is injected first in a MMMprocess,usuallyformingthebaseormajorityofthefinalcomponent.Theover mould is the subsequent shot which tends to form at least partially over top of the substrate. Unlike single material (SM) components, MM components have a unique feature that is of great importance when designing effective components. Because the materials in MM objects must be somehow mated without the use of traditional fasteners (e.g. screws, welds, etc), the topic of MM interfaces becomes important; that is, where and how do the separate materials connect to form the desired product. The three majortypesofinterfacesaremicroscopic,mesoscopic,andmacroscopic[5]. Microscopicinterface According to [3, 5], Microscopic, or more commonly, chemical interfaces, are for med as a result of bonding along the mating surface between two materials. In particular, the driving force is crosspolymerization of the differing molecules of the two polymers. The extent and strength of the chemical interface is a complex function of many variables, including: molecular properties (e.g. size and weight), material processing temperatures,and viscosities. Figure 2shows three simple bimaterial bars withdifferentdegreesofcrosspolymerisation. Multimaterial interfaces

Figure2Varyingamountsofbondingatamicroscopicinterface.Highdegreeofcross polymerization(left),moderatedegreeofcrosspolymerization(centre)and lowdegreeofcrosspolymerisation(right)[5]. Multicomponentinjectionmoulding2

CAEDSMouldDesign Macroscopicinterface Macroscopic,orinterlockinginterfaces,areformedbymechanicallylockingthetwo materials together via some form of geometric interface. Such types of interfaces can be used to join two chemically incompatible materials (e.g. ABS and aluminium). Additionally, interlocking interfaces can be used to selectively control the relative movementoftheseparatematerialsalongvariousdegreesoffreedom.Figure3shows a schematic of a bar with a macroscopic, Tshaped interface. This configuration will onlyallowrelativemovementofthetwomaterialsalongthezaxis.

Figure3Amacroscopicinterface[5]. Mesoscopicinterface Mesoscopic interfaces fall right between microscopic and macroscopic interfaces; that is, they possess features with length scales on the order of 11000 nanometres. The mechanism via which mesoscopic interfaces maintain their integrity shares character istics with molecular bonding and interlocking. Mesoscopic bonds can be formed by moulding the first material and then finishing the surface along its shared interface with a bumpy or grooved texture and then moulding the second material around it whereitwillformalongthemesoscopicfeatures[5]. Combinationinterfaces Some MMM processes allow components to be designed with any combination of the above mentioned interfaces. For example, it is possible to form an interface with molecular bonding along a geometric interlocking surface. According to Bruck et al [7], the combination microscopic/macroscopic interfaces performed much better in tensileloadingoverflatbondedinterfaces,whichinturn,performedmuchbetterthan nonbondedinterlockinginterfaces.Thissuggeststhatwhencomponentstrengthisan important consideration, combination interfaces should be used whenever physically possible and financially feasible. The next best alternative would be to ensure the materialsmateatanoninterlockingbutbondedinterface[5]. Plasticinterfacesformulticomponentinjectionmoulding According to Maniscalco [9], multicomponent moulding involves two or more injec tion units on the same machine filling cavities in a sequencewhen the first set of cavities is filled with the first material, parts are moved or rotated to accept the next (andanyfuture)shot. Asthefirstshotsolidifiesandcools,thesecondmeltfrontisintroduced.Ifthemateri alsaresimilarinnatureandproperties,thesecondmaterialwillremelttheotherfora strongchemicaladhesion,asinovermoulding.Mechanicalinterlockdesignsmayalso beusedtobondthetwomaterials.Ifthetwomaterialshavewidelydifferentmelting Multicomponentinjectionmoulding3

CAEDSMouldDesign points or chemical makeups (amorphous and crystalline, for example), they wont bond.Thislattercombinationcanbeusedforinmouldassembly. Selecting the right combination of materials also presents a learning experience, ac cording to [9]. Material compatibility charts are available from machinery manufacturers and resin suppliers (see Figure 4, opposite, for an example), but they are only guidelines. If you want to ensure bonding, choose similar material families withsimilarmeltingpoints,andthenrapidshootthesecondshot. Figure4Materialcompatibilitychart[9]. AccordingtoManiscalco[9],mechanicalinterlockscanbeusedtoimproveattachment to the substrate in areas of high stress or abrasion,asillustratedinFigure5, forexam ple.

Figure 5Mechanicalinterlocksdesignstoimprovebondingsbetweenfirstandsecond shots[9]. Designandcharacterizationofmouldedmultimaterialinterfaces Processing variables. According to Gouker et al [3], there are many variables that haveanaffect,eitherdirectorindirect,ontheMMMprocess.Theseparameterscan Multicomponentinjectionmoulding4

CAEDSMouldDesign be broken down into four main categories: temperature, pressure, time, and distance. A key parameter in MMM is the cooling time between mouldingstages, which affects the degree of crosspolymerization at an interface. Typically, for crosspolymerization to occur the second mould stage must be performed before the material has com pletely hardened from the first mould stage. However, the material from the first mould stage must be hardened enough so that it can be taken out from the mould. Therefore, the desire to maintain geometrically complex interfacial features directly contradictsthedesiretomaintainthebestcrosspolymerization.Duetothesensitivity of the material at this critical time, it is essential to limit either the manual or robotic manipulations required between mould stages when engineering the interface. It is also necessary to design a moulding schedule that balances the degree of cross polymerization with the desire to maintain the geometrically complex interfacial features. Interfacial strength characterisation. To determine the effects of processing variables on the engineered interface, it is necessary to characterize the strength and deforma tion response of the interface. The interfacial strength will determine the critical loads forMMcompliantmechanisms.Tocharacterizetheinterfacialstrength,itisnecessary to conduct experiments to determine the critical stresses at which the interface begins to debond. For example, a recent study explored the use of complex geometry to enhance interfacial tension strength by conducting tensile tests on twodimensional interfaces. This study found that geometric complexity can increase the interfacial strength 2025%. Among the geometrically complex interfaces that were tested, it was found that circular geometries exhibited approximately 5% greater strength than rectangulargeometries[7]. There are many choices for mechanical testing of interfacial strength. However, actu ally conducting these tests on complete assemblies under a variety of loading conditions would be cost prohibitive. In order to circumvent this difficulty, interfacial strength can be simply determined on chemically bonded flat interfaces under four different loading conditions that are locally dominant at different locations in the assembly.Thefourloadingconditionsare:tension,shear,peeling,andtorsion[7]. According to Gouker works [3], shear and tension strength tests can measure how well the chemical interfaces resist uniform shear and normal stresses, respectively. The shear strength tests were conducted on simple lap shear specimens (see [3]). For thetensionstrengthtests,specimenscontainflatinterfaceswithcircularcrosssections. Inbothtests,specimenspulledapartundertensileloads,andthestrengthdetermined fromthecriticalloadandinterfacialarea.Whilesomemayarguethatthetwophysical test specimens discussed above are adequate to completely determine the two materi alscompatibility,Goukeretal[3]mentionedthatcanalsobenecessarytoconductthe peel and torsion strength tests in order to determine the chemical interface strength undergradientsofnormalandshearstress.Thepeelingtestspecimenissimilartothe shear test specimen, but is loaded with a tensile force perpendicular to the interface (see [3] for more details). The torsion strength tests utilize the same specimen testing configuration as the tensile tests, except specimens are twisted rather than pulled apart. In both cases, the geometry of the interface is used to compute the stress gradi ent in order to determine conditions for failure. Thus, both stress and stress gradients areusedtodetermineinterfacialfailure. Multicomponentinjectionmoulding5

CAEDSMouldDesign From the results presented in [3], it can be seen that both the combination interface and the flat chemical interface have comparable mechanical responses, with the flat interface exhibiting 15% greater strength. However, when there is no chemical bond ing along the interface only the mechanical interface is capable of bearing load with a strength that is 50% of the level that would be experienced with chemical bonding. Therefore, when designing with chemically compatible materials, either type of inter face is suitable. However, only the mechanical interface can be used when the materialsareincompatible. Characterisingdeformationresponseofinterfaces.Inadditiontointerfacialstrength, Gouker et al [3] recommend that is also desirable to characterize the deformation response of the interface to subcritical loads. To predict interfacial response, analyti calformulasorfiniteelementanalysis(FEA)software,canbeused.

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CAEDSMouldDesign Multimaterial manufacturing is becoming increasingly popular across multiple industries because MMOs posses many characteristics superior to traditional ho mogenous objects. These beneficial traits justify the manufacture, sale and use of products containing MM components. In fact, entire product assemblies are being replaced by single MM components with similar or better performance and cost characteristics. The majority of MMOs are produced using a class of manufacturing called multimaterial moulding. Multimaterial products possess several beneficial qualitiesovertraditionallymouldedproductsincluding: Multicolourappearance; skin/coreconfigurations; inmouldassembly; selectivecompliance; softtouchportions. Multicolourappearance According to Robert [8], multimaterial moulding can produce MMOs that consist of a single, continuous body with sections of different colours and opacities. This allows builtinfeaturessuchasclearviewingwindowsandcolouredlabels.Thiscanprovide significantly better aesthetics over an assembly of different coloured SM components, or just one SM component that is painted different colours on the surface. A multi colouredMMOwillnotexperiencepaintchipping/flakingandeliminatestheneedfor the costly secondary operations of assembly and/or painting. Figure 6 shows two examplesofmulticolourMMOs. Advantagesof multimaterial technology

Figure6ExamplesofmulticolourMMOs.Multicolourtaillight(left)andvarious bottleswithmouldedinlabels(right)[5]. Skin/coreconfigurations A component with a skin/core configuration has an outer skin covering the inner core of the component. Figure 7 shows a skin/core car armrest and a skin/core Fris bee.

Figure7ExamplesoftwomaterialsMMOs.Skin/corearmrest(left)andskin/core Frisbee(right)[5]. Multicomponentinjectionmoulding7

CAEDSMouldDesign Benefits of the skin/core arrangement involves having the core completely insulated from the outside environment by the skin. This allows the core to be purelystructural and/orcosteffectivewhiletheskinprovidesotherfunctions. Thisarrangementcanbeexploitedinmanyways.Forone,theskincanserveasathin coating which completely protects the interior of the component from such harmful agentsas corrosive chemicals (e.g. acids, bases,salts,greases, etc), extreme weather, and radiation. For example, a product that is intended to spend a majority of the time in the sun can be moulded with a UVresistant skin covering the structural core (e.g. lawn furniture). Alternatively, the skin can offer visually or tactilely appealing aes thetics, while the less attractive core is completely hidden. For example, a colourful, shinyskin can add visualappeal to a component with an otherwise dull corematerial (e.g. toilet seat covers); just as a rubber softtouch skin can improve the feel of a com ponent with a rough, rigid core [9]. This completely eliminates the need for after moulding operations such as painting or lacquering. Finally, the skin/core arrange ment can simply be economical. The core, forming the bulk of the component, can be composed of offgrade, recycled, impure, or otherwise inferior (i.e. inexpensive) material while the less voluminous skin is a highquality, expensive virgin material. For example, the Frisbee in Figure 5 was made with 33% scrap plastic [10]. Addition ally, this can reduce the overall weight of the component by up to 15%, particularly if thecoreiscomposedofafoamlikematerial. Inmouldassembly This MMM technology is able to produce fully assembled components inmould. This means that entire assemblies consisting of multiple pieces can be produced by a singlesetofmoulds,therebyeliminatingtheneedforsecondaryassemblyandtheuse of bolts, welds, glue, or other fasteners. This translates to a reduced part count and negligible assembly costs. Additionally, gaskets or seals can be moulded directly onto parts that need to form tight seals, such as lids, connectors and the like. MMM can produce reliable, costeffective seals without secondary operations. Two examples of inmould assembly are shown in Figure 8 (left) shows some childrens toys which are all produced using MMM. The 3material dolls come out of the moulds completely assembled and have rotating limbs and heads as well as multiple coloured sections. Figure 8 (right) shows a onepiece syringe with a mouldedin seal, attached plunger, andacloseableintegratedlid.

Figure8Examplesofinmouldassembledproducts.Articulatedtoys(left)andone piecesyringe(right)[5].

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CAEDSMouldDesign Compliancecomponents Another use of MMM is producing compliant mechanisms, where the compliance of the material is selectively varied at strategic locations in the structure so that large deformationsnecessaryforthestructuretofunctionproperly,willoccuronlyatthose locations. Thus, MM objects can provide local control of mechanical properties of an object, thereby realizing concepts that would otherwise be impractical and/or ex tremelydifficulttoproduce[11].AsimpleexampleofthisisshowninFigure9,which compares a pair of compliant MM clips to a pair of clips manufactured traditionally by assembling three homogenous parts together. The clips in Figure 9 (right) function bymeansofacomplianthingecomposedofasofterplasticthatisembeddedinarigid plastic which forms the handles/grips. The familiar clips in Figure 9 (left) utilize a metal spring and two separate halves which all have to be manufactured and assem bledseparately.

Figure9Comparisonoftraditionalandselectivecomplianceclips.Traditional(left) andmultimaterialclips(right)[5]. Additionally, the selective compliance components can allow selective vibration dampening. By discretely varying the material composition in select locations, certain frequenciescanbeattenuatedbymaterialdiscontinuitiesalonginterfaces. Softtouchportions According to Fowler [5], a final advantage of MMM is that allows products to be made with rigid plastic housings and softer rubbery gripping areas. Rigid substrate parts provide the necessary structural integrity, stiffness, and strength, while the soft touchmaterialsprovideimprovedaesthetics,bettertactileproperties,andenhancethe gripofproducts,whileabsorbingvibrationsandreducinghandfatigue.Addingasoft feel also differentiates products and gives them a highend look and feel. The end result is more durable products that are comfortable to use. Figure 10 shows two examples of products using softtouch plastics on the grip sections and hard plastic forthehousings.

Figure10Examplesofproductswithsofttouchgrips.Cordlesssawhousing(left) andelectrictoothbrush(right)[5]. Multicomponentinjectionmoulding9

CAEDSMouldDesign According to Gouker et al [3], there are two broad manufacturing technologies com monly used to make MM objects: injection moulding and room temperature moulding. Injection moulding is commonly used for largescale production processes, while room temperature moulding is primarily used for small production runs. Injec tion moulding involves injecting molten plastic into a mould where it rapidly solidifies and is then ejected as the desired object [5]. Injection moulding is ideal for many applications because it is amenable to a variety of polymeric materials, has a wide range of mould capabilitiesincluding complex structuresand is extremely controllable. Additionally, the parts produced by injection moulding have a very low cycletime. Basically, there are three different types of MM injection moulding processes [3, 6]. Multicomponent moulding is the simplest and most common form of MM injection moulding. It involves the simultaneous (or sometimes sequential) injection of two or more different materials through either the same or different gatelocationsinasingle mould. Multishot moulding (MSM) is the most complex and versatile MM injection moulding process. It involves injecting the different materials into the mould in a specified sequence, where the mould cavity geometry may partially or completely change between sequences. Overmoulding and insert moulding simply involve moulding a resin around a preformed part, either metal (as in insert moulding) or a previouslymadeinjectionmouldedplasticpart(asinovermoulding). Room temperature moulding utilizes polymers that are liquids at room temperature. Instead of injecting a hot liquid into the mould and then allowing the plastic to cool intoasolid,roomtemperaturemouldingutilizesreactivecompoundsthatpolymerize (i.e., cure) at ambient conditions. This involves mixing two compounds, a resin and a hardener, to activate the polymer, then pouring the mixture into the mould. The material then polymerizes in the shape of the cavity. The hardening time will be considerably longer than that of injection moulded plastics. Because MM objects have geometric features consisting of differing materials, the moulds must be filled in stages. This means that the moulds are assembled in an initial configuration and the first material stage is poured. After a specified hardening time, the moulds are par tially disassembled and some mould pieces are added, removed, or replaced with different ones. The second material stage can then be poured. This process is contin ued until all of the materials have been poured. After a specified hardening time, the moulds are partially disassembled and some mould pieces are added, removed, or replaced with different ones. The second material stage can then be poured. This processiscontinueduntilallofthematerialshavebeenpoured. Each of the three classes of MM moulding processes is unique and can be distin guishedusingtheclassificationshowninFigure11. MultiMaterial Moulding Processes

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CAEDSMouldDesign Multimaterialmouldingprocesses Multicomponentinjectionmoulding Definition Biinjectionmoulding Injectionmouldingtechniques inwhichtwoormorematerial areprocessed Skin/Coremoulding Coinjectionmoulding Sandwichmoulding Intervalmoulding Multishotmoulding Definition Rotaryplaten Multishotmouldinginvolves thesequentialinjectionof separatematerialsinto Indexplate differentlocationsinamould Coretoggle Insert/Overmoulding Definition Insertandovermouldingare simplevariationsofsingle materialmoulding.In particular,theonlydifference isthatapreform,eithermetal orplastic,isplacedintothe moldbeforetheresinis injected.Oncetheresinis injectedintothemold,itflows over,under,and/oraround thepreformandhardens, lockingthepreforminsideof it. Figure11Aclassificationformultimaterial mouldingprocesses.Adaptedfrom[5].

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CAEDSMouldDesign According to Gouker at al and Fowler [3, 5], multicomponent injection moulding is perhaps the simplest and most common form of MMM. It involves the simultaneous (or sometimes sequential) injection of two or more different materials through either the same or different gate locations in a single mould. Multishot (or multistage) mouldingisthemostcomplexandversatileoftheMMMprocess.Itinvolvesinjecting thedifferentmaterialsintothemouldinaspecifiedsequence,wherethemouldcavity geometrymaypartiallyorcompletelychangebetweensequences.Overmouldingand insert moulding simply involve moulding a resin around a preformed part; either metal (as in insert moulding), or a previouslymade injectionmoulded plastic part (as in overmoulding). Each of the three classes of MMM are considerably different. Each specific MMM process requires its own set of specialised equipment; however, there arecertainequipmentrequirementsthataregenerallythesameforalltypesofMMM.

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CAEDSMouldDesign [1]Vogel,S.Betterbentthanbroken,Discover,Vol.16,No.5,1995,pp.6267.

[2] Ananthasuresh, G. K., and Kota, S. Designing compliant mechanisms. ASME References Mech.Eng.,Vol.117,No.11,1995,pp.9396. [3] Gouker, R . Gupta, S., Bruck, H. and Holzschuh, T. Manufacturing of multi material compliant mechanisms using multimaterial moulding, Int J Adv Manuf TechnolVol.30,2006,pp.10491075. [4]Beaman,J.,Bourell,D.,Jackson,B.,Jepson,L.,McAdams,D.,Perez,J.andWoodK. Multimaterial selective laser sintering: empirical studies and hardware development, NSF Design and Manufacturing Grantees Conference, Vancouver, BC, 2000,pp36. [5] Fowler, G. T. Cost and performance evaluation models for comparing multishot andtraditionalinjectionmoulding,MScThesis,UniversityofMaryland,2004. [6] Fessler, J. R., Nickel, A. H., Link, G., Prinz, F. B. and P. Fussell. Functional Gradient Metallic Prototypes through Shape Deposition Manufacturing. In Proceedings of the Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium. University of Texas at Austin,Texas,1997. [7] Bruck, H. A., Fowler, G., Gupta, S. K. and Valentine, T. M. Using geometric com plexity to enhance the interfacial strength of heterogeneous structures fabricated in a multistage,Multipiecemouldingprocess.ExperimentalMechanics,Vol.44,2004,pp. 261271. [8] Robert B. H. Technical multicolour/component injection moulding to enhance product, reduce cost. Proceedings of MultiShot Injection Moulding (CM97210), Chicago,Illinois,1997. [9] Maniscalco, M. Basic Elements: Simplifying multicomponent design. IMM Magazine (online version). http://www.immnet.com/articles?article=2343 (accessed: September2006). [10]Kirkland,C.Rediscovering,unleashingthevalueofcoinjection.IMMMagazine (online version). http://www.immnet.com/article_printable.html?article=1766 (accessed:September2006). [11] Kumar, M. Automated design of multistage moulds for manufacturing multi materialobjects.MScThesis,UniversityofMaryland,2001. Multicomponentinjectionmoulding13