Thermal imaging-based technology to identify those injection-moulded parts likely to fail

Oct 15, 2012
Non-destructive testing of plastic components
Credit: Thinkstock

Non-destructive testing (NDT) technology developed with EU funding should boost the competitiveness of numerous European plastics manufacturers by decreasing lost money and time due to part failures.

are commonly produced via a process called injection moulding. The raw material is mixed and heated together with a solvent over a large turning screw that melts it and 'injects' it into a mould. When the material cools and hardens, the mould is removed and the part remains.

The moulded part may be ready for distribution as is or it may be further processed in various ways such as painting or chroming (chrome plating).

Currently, manufacturers are unable to identify injection-moulded parts that are likely to fail during cooling or subsequent processing steps. This results in a tremendous amount of wasted time, money and material for the 25 000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU injection moulding sector. In addition, the sector is particularly vulnerable to non-EU competition with its low-cost labour.

An EU team set out to fill the by developing a -based part inspection tool with EU-funding of the Thermofit project. Numerous meetings among the partners led to definition of several guiding themes regarding the new NDT technology and user interface.

First, the system had to be adaptable and applicable to parts of any shape, size or material. Second, the setup and software had to be easy to learn and use. Finally, the technology obviously had to provide accurate, repeatable and reliable failure detection.

The Thermofit consortium employed , well known for their strength in and classification, in the fault-detection module. Testing of numerous parts of various materials and shapes demonstrated an impressive fault-detection accuracy of 98-100 %.

Thermofit technology should make an important impact on the European injection moulding sector and the numerous SMEs working in it. Increasing quality and productivity while decreasing costs will help Europe compete with its Asian neighbours favoured by low labour costs.

Explore further: First drone in Nevada test program crashes in demo

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Advances in recycling for the electronics sector

Sep 26, 2012

Research has addressed the mounting problem of polymers from the electronics sector entering the waste stream. An EU-funded research team investigated a fully recyclable polymer and have developed new moulding ...

Robotic system to inspect underground pipes

Aug 17, 2012

EU-funded researchers developed a high-tech robotic imaging system for inspecting underground pipes. Commercialisation should facilitate use of corrosion-resistant materials for transport of hazardous chemicals.

Optimizing a novel superconducting material

Jul 24, 2012

Superconducting materials are widely used in the electrical instrumentation industry. European researchers made significant progress in enhancing superconductivity of a novel material currently the focus of ...

Recommended for you

First drone in Nevada test program crashes in demo

8 hours ago

A drone testing program in Nevada is off to a bumpy start after the first unmanned aircraft authorized to fly without Federal Aviation Administration supervision crashed during a ceremony in Boulder City.

Fully automated: Thousands of blood samples every hour

16 hours ago

Siemens is supplying automation technology for the longest and one of the most cutting-edge sample processing lines in any clinical laboratory. The line, or automation track, 200 meters long, in Marlborough, ...

Explainer: What is 4-D printing?

16 hours ago

Additive manufacturing – or 3D printing – is 30 years old this year. Today, it's found not just in industry but in households, as the price of 3D printers has fallen below US$1,000. Knowing you can p ...

First series production vehicle with software control

17 hours ago

Siemens has unveiled the first electric series production vehicle with the central electronics and software architecture RACE. This technology, developed in the research project of the same name, replaces ...

Amputee puts limb system through its paces

19 hours ago

"Amputee Makes History with APL's Modular Prosthetic Limb" is the headline from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, where a team working on prosthetics observed a milestone when a double amputee showed ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.