Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Himalaia (High-Impact Injection Moulding Platform for mass-production of 3D and/or large micro-structured surfaces with Antimicrobial, Self-cleaning, Anti-scratch, Anti-squeak and Aesthetic functionalities)

Summary
Surface properties need to be controlled and modified to satisfy demanding engineering requirements in a large variety of applications, ranging from packaging to automotive, health, aerospace, energy, etc. The HIMALAIA project aims to develop a cost-efficient, environmentally...

Summary

Surface properties need to be controlled and modified to satisfy demanding engineering requirements in a large variety of applications, ranging from packaging to automotive, health, aerospace, energy, etc. The HIMALAIA project aims to develop a cost-efficient, environmentally friendly and adaptable manufacturing platform for the mass manufacture of 3D and/or large polymer parts with antimicrobial, anti-scratch, self-cleaning, anti-squeak (undesired noise produced by two contacting parts) and aesthetic properties by replicating specially designed micron and sub-micron surface topographies. In recent years, the manufacturing of such functional surfaces has been already tackled through the injection moulding (IM) replication of micron and sub-micron structures, but only for small areas of 2D to 2.5D parts. The technology has proven its potential in bringing products to the market (e.g. light diffracting microstructures for anti-counterfeiting applications, microfluidic devices , etc.). Nevertheless, the limitation of the technologies to flat, simple and small surfaces is a bottleneck to broad application and a major industrial breakthrough.
The HIMALAIA project aims to develop and implement key enabling technologies based on promising processes validated by partners at TRL4. HIMALAIA?s concept for a mass production line will synergistically combine the latest advances in nano- and micro-scale surface modification methods, advanced tool-making technologies and micro-replication IM. The resulting manufacturing platform will allow the highly efficient mass production of large and/or 3D thermoplastic parts with functional micron and sub-micron topographies, providing antimicrobial, anti-scratch, self-cleaning, and anti-squeak properties, as well as intriguing / biomimetic optical effects for aesthetic purposes. The platform will be broadly applicable to many sectors, including health, energy, telecommunications, microfluidics or micromechanical applications. The five overall objectives are summarised below:
O1.To develop technologies for advanced moulds able to replicate with high accuracy (down to 100 nm) and durability (at least 250 000 injection moulding cycles), complex 3D shapes with micron and sub-micron surface topographies displaying advanced properties, notably self-cleaning, antimicrobial, anti-scratch, anti-squeak and aesthetic properties.
O2.To develop an in-process characterization tool able to elucidate the dependencies between surface topographies of polymer parts and their functional responses. The tool will be based on:
(i)the development of an in-line 3D optical metrology system for patterned surfaces with feature resolution in the range from tens of microns to 100 nm, time cycle below 30s and good repeatability.
(ii)an empirical model-based software formed based on the characterisation of topographies and their functionality.
This in-line inspection tool will discriminate ?acceptable? from ?non acceptable? surfaces.
O3. To develop optimized injection moulding techniques for accurate and reliable replication of micron and sub-micron topographies on 3D / large parts.
O4. To integrate at system level the previously mentioned building blocks (mould texturing technologies, IM-based replication processes, model-based in-line metrology tools) into a flexible, factory-relevant TRL6 design and manufacturing platform.
O5. To demonstrate and transfer broadly the HIMALAIA manufacturing platform

Work Performed

WP1: Specifications
Specifications defined and summarized in deliveries
WP2: Surface texturing
Active plasma hardening successful
Thermal spraying of metallic glasses : No further investigation
Anti-adhesion surface : DLC Coating produced with uniformity, low friction
Particle self assembly for photonic nanojet : Main work on embedding and laser processing.
Comparison of laser processing on Stavax inserts and DLC coating.
WP3: IM replication process : Test vehicle tool ready, injection trials in progress
Tool for antimicrobial under construction
WP4: Characterization
Orthodontic texture benchmarking and testing
Scratch and squeak test defined and 1st results
Metrology system prototype built
Hydro/oleophobic test defined
1st simulation of optical properties done
WP5: Platform
90% Components on site. Automation activity to be started
WP6: demonstration to be started soon
WP7: Website created
WP8: 1st ESS conducted

Results

The HIMALAIA project proposes seven main scientific and technical innovations. HIMALAIA innovations in terms of anti-friction, anti-squeak, anti-microbial, self-cleaning and aesthetic optical surfaces and dedicated characterisation techniques are outlined in Innovation 1 below. Micron and sub-micron structuring of mould cavities for the injection moulding of plastic parts with functionalized surfaces requires the use of highly flexible and robust patterning technologies. The project will take advantage of recent improvements of three approaches. This synergistic deployment of direct laser structuring, surface engineering and particle self-assembly in combination with laser irradiation will allow the team to meet objectives (Innovations 2 to 4). The replication of the micron and sub-micron structures on 3D polymer parts requires an optimization of the complete IM process. This requires the improved filling of micron/sub-micron structured cavities thanks to RHC and vacuum and the development of assisted demoulding solutions to preserve the structural integrity during the demoulding step (Innovation 5).
Characterisation and in-process monitoring and inspections are another main challenge of the HIMALAIA project. Appropriate characterisation methods and tools are required at several stages of R&D and manufacturing. At mould texturing level, micro- / nanostructure monitoring and inspection is required in order to ensure reproducible fabrication of the mould cavities (Innovation 6). During the replication process, high-speed and resolution in-line metrology solutions are mandatory in the frame of a zero-defect strategy (Innovation 7) to enable the validation of the produced parts functionality without time- and cost-consuming 100% functional characterisation. The research team dedicated to HIMALAIA have a long and impressive record of accomplishments in the exploitation of research results, through the commercialisation of new products and services, IP generation and technology transfer. Partners recognise HIMALAIA as a great opportunity to generate highly exploitable results.
?Integrated manufacturing platform for the replication of 3D plastic parts with advanced functionalities
?Cutting-edge knowledge of simulations applicable to an emerging market
?Demoulding techniques for micro, nano-structured plastic parts
?Optimized IM process for replication of micro- and nano-structures
?Know-how on: Surface engineering and laser texturing of mould inserts.
?Efficient, reliable cost-efficient processes for producing and functionalising 3D surfaces
?Laser texturing machines and related software and process
?Antimicrobial and anti-fouling self-ligating bracket
?Plastic interior components with anti-scratch and anti-squeak properties
?Cosmetic tube demonstrators with new functionalities
?In-line, model-based characterisation techniques
?New knowledge and expertise on the materials and process development and characterisation
?Improved knowledge of the needs and challenges faced by European research and innovation consortia