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Ultra-melt - innovative energy saving development for the injection moulding sector


The objective is to develop a prototype low cost, retro-fittable, ultrasonic melt system for the promotion of piastic flow in polymer processing, and an associated rheology calibration system. This will enable the EU polymer processors to reduce the energy consumption of the melt phase of polymer processing by up to 30%, allowing them the opportunity to produce thinner walled, performance products with standard melt flow index materials. This reduction in raw material consumption & energy, and improvement to product design, will lead to reduced cycle times and reductions in part cost of 23%. Together the proposers anticipate halting the alarming trend in out-sourcing outside of the EU, and recover 6% of the Euro 6 bn lost polymer GDP pa of imported polymer components & products (Euro 360 m/pa). It expected that the technology will be licensed to 1,910 SMEs each increasing their annual revenue by Euro 200k and generating additional emolcyment in the sector by 2,250 jobs. It is proposed than annual user license fee of Euro 2k will provide not-for-profit revenue for the IAG proposers to litigate against patent infringements and continue a programme of publication & dissemination - therefore providing a sustainable framework to support the SME exploitation after the RTD project. Furthermore, licences will be sold for sales networks, and for manufacturers of the system at Euro 25k/annum. The penetration of 10% of the injection moulding sector over 3 years will require a total of 1,910 systems, generating 538 new jobs and additional revenue of Euro 86 million. This will be serviced by 36 sales & manufacturing licensees in UK, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Germany and extended regions.
%lWork description
-To co-ordinate all project activity & act as the administrative interface to the Commission, to manage time, resources & facilities allocation to optimise the application of industrial resource among the partners to develop and establish the science & technology. Co-ordination between the EC and project consortium, ensuring that all milestones, reports, & project administration is prepared in accordance with the contractual requirements:
-To establish scientific understanding of material properties under the influence of sonication to develop detailed design & parameter configurations that will enable the prototype system to achieve the objectives for increased polymer flow, reduced energy consumption & reduce cycle times;
-resulting in reduced part costs;
-To design & develop a prototype ultrasonic system for initial process trials that will enable refinement of the initial design & parameter configurations, developing the prototype system towards achieving the objectives for energy reduction and high temperature & pressure operating performance;
-To design & develop the prototype rheology calibration system for initial sensor trials that will enable refinement of the initial design & parameter configurations, developing the prototype system for predicable real-time, in-line calibration of a range of polymers to increase plastic flow in polymer processing;
-To design & develop the prototype ultrasonic melt system, incorporating all elements of the tooling, hot runner, ultrasonics and probe interface & sealing system, to enable retro-fit integration into the moulding process for optimisation of the design & parameter configurations to achieve the objectives for energy reduction and high temperature & pressure operating performance;
-To retro-fit integrate the prototype ultrasonic melt system and calibration system into standard injection moulding equipment to create a pilot end user and industrial validation demonstrator, evaluating & validating the integrated operating performance to the targets for improvements to pressure, temperature, cycle time & part costs;
-To develop and establish exploitation- mechanisms for the project results. To disseminate the developed ultrasonic melt technology within the IAG proposers, SME Core Group, IAG proposer SME member organisations & SME organisations external to the IAG proposers. Demonstrating & training organisations in the technology and developing case studies for commercial validation & further dissemination.

Results expected
-A prototype, low cost, retro-fittable, ultrasonic melt system, incorporating a robust sonotrode probe design suitable for the high temperatures & pressures of the injection moulding process, and a novel leak free sealing system for easy location and alignment.
-A prototype rheology calibration system for material set-up, process optimisation and control of the innovative new processing approach.
-Injection moulding sector dissemination programme for awareness, exploitation & training.
-Plastic sector dissemination programme for awareness and continued development for additional market & sector applications.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Ecl House, Lake Street, Leighton Buzzard
LU7 8RT Bedfordshire
United Kingdom

Participants (3)