IMPRESS | Flexible Compression Injection Moulding Platform for Multi-Scale Surface Structures

Impress will combine up-to-date and advanced facilities based on three main modules: a tool-manufacturing module, which involves different technologies for micro-nano direct manufacturing, an injection-moulding module, including equipment fitted with up-to-date hardware, and an intelligence module which is dedicated to advanced process control and the online integration of measurement tools (known as metrology). This technology is already used in some restricted sectors of industry, such as the recording media industry (for CDs, DVDs and Blue Ray) and more recently in the production of anti-counterfeit holograms. At present, technologies which add functions to plastic parts with surface micro or nano texturation only exist in very specific areas. As a result, the plastics industry lacks an overall means of developing new products and bringing them onto the market. In addition, long development cycles, excessive costs and high risk often prevent the industry from moving into the micro/nano area. The objective of the IMPRESS project is to develop a complete injection moulding system (known as a technology platform) and to extend this so it is able to be used in much wider areas of industry, thereby helping to create new avenues of research for micro- nano-scale manufacturing. This will significantly reduce time-to-market and bring down mass production costs for high-precision and cost-effective plastic components. Moreover, the platform will be tailored to offer total flexibility, with the aim of addressing a large number of high added value emergent applications in different sectors.
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Start date: 01-05-2010
End date: 30-04-2013
Total budget - Public funding: 7 020 242,00 Euro - 4 616 297,00 Euro
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IMPRESS targets the development of a technological injection moulding platform for serial production of plastic components incorporating micro or nano scale functional features. The platform will be based on the gathering of up to date and most advanced facilities based on three main modules, each of them being a tool box including several building blocks:
- a tool manufacturing module involving different technologies of micro- nano direct manufacturing, from top-down to bottom-up such as self-assembling,
- an injection moulding module including equipments fitted with up to date hardware to improve replication quality and capability,
- an intelligence module dedicated to advanced process control and online metrology integration.

Beside this large panel of facilities, three case studies have been selected (biology, health and energy), each of them requiring a specific and well defined surface micro-nano texturation. These case studies cover a very large range of nano-feature (from 100nm up to 1 µm) and component size (from 1 cm2 up to 1000 cm2). They will serve to qualify the capabilities of the different building blocks and will allow (i) to select the most suitable building blocks as of application requirements (ii) to learn about the platform working and (iii) to anticipate the technological future of the platform.

Finally, a technico-economic tool for decision making will be developed based on the IMPRESS case studies and thus to allow end-users to select the most appropriate configuration regarding the end product manufacturing requirements. Further to the IMPRESS case studies, the performances of the platform will be validated through a satellite group.

IMPRESS technological platform will accelerate the production and the time to market of micro nano-scale functional feature on multi-component devices in order to obtain an important reduction of needed supply chain space, technological risk and manufacturing costs of next generation plastic part products.



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