Volume production at industrial scale of miniaturised multi-material 3D (polymer-polymer, metal-polymer, metal-metal, polymer-ceramics,...) still face important challenges to be affordable by SMEs. Challenges not only in terms of precision manufacturing (precision engineering <0.01%) but also in the adequate interaction between the different constituent materials.
Besides multi-material micro-system manufacturing processes still show to be time and cost consuming mainly from assembling activities and back en processes (35-60% of the total manufacturing costs come only from the assembling), so further research efforts in alternative and more integrated manufacturing concepts(over-moulding of micro-components and in-mould assembly technology would avoid the assembly step) are needed.
To answer those problems the development of high-throughput and cost-efficient process chains based on micro injection should consider the following aspects:
• Improved volume production, not only from the standpoint of the necessary accuracy and performance of the process, but also regarding the interaction/bonding of the different materials which make up the produced parts and the possibility of selective functionality of their surfaces.
• The integration of the different processes including the feeding and handling systems for automatic operation in order to eliminate human intervention and manufacturing costs.
• Analyse the most suitable process control, online verification and back-end processes taking into account the features of the multi-material replicated parts represented by five demonstrators.
The aim is to reduce manufacturing costs up to 40%. Thus, the HINMICO project final outcome will enable to produce high quality multi-material micro-components through more integrated, efficient and cheaper process chains.
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