Ceramic injection moulding expert group established
Inaugural meeting of the "Technology Development" working group at Arburg
The function of the Ceramic Injection Moulding expert group is to promote the technology of ceramic injection moulding (CIM) and, for this purpose, it defined three main areas of activity which were allocated to the relevant working groups. The expert group has been established in a move to form a technological cooperative partnership that aims to combat problems and challenges at an early stage, while continuing to develop CIM technologies.
The "Technology Development" working group
During the inaugural session of the CIM expert group, held on 22 April 2008 at the Hanover trade fair, the members recognised the need for a "Technology Development" working group and agreed that the group would be headed by Hartmut Walcher, responsible at Arburg for powder processing development. The primary tasks of this working group were mould filling simulation, the detection of faults in green components and the drafting of design guidelines for CIM components.
The members of the Technology Development working group met at Arburg on 3 June 2008 to discuss the problem of how to eliminate faults during ceramic injection moulding and throughout the entire process chain. Another topic for discussion was the simulation of the filling process. It was decided to gather and compare information relating to simulation processes by carrying out a benchmark process with ZrO2 feedstocks from BASF and Inmatec and to report on potential empirical values. The resulting data will then be made available to all members of the group.
Furthermore, a test tool must be developed for verifying the filling simulations by means of practical trials. Three manufacturers of simulation software are to be recruited for these tests.
In addition to the already existing internal fault databases maintained by Inmatec and Arburg, a comprehensive fault catalogue is to be produced. The aim is to identify faults in green, brown and sintered components, feedstock, powders and binders, to evaluate possible reasons for the faults and to include instructions for fault remedy.
Even at this early stage, Hartmut Walcher draws positive overall conclusions: "We expect that the agreed close cooperation between CIM producers, feedstock producers, machine manufacturers and representatives from the scientific sector will result in increased exchange of information and greater potential for innovation in the area of ceramic injection moulding. Realistic simulations and a comprehensive fault database will enable us to make ceramic injection moulding more competitive in the future."
But it's not just the lively exchange of ideas that plays a vital role, but also the opportunity to get to know one another and to understand the participating companies better. The working groups are to meet regularly at different locations, giving the experts the opportunity to view the CIM production systems of the various participating companies.
Members of the CIM expert group
Participating companies and institutions in the expert forum and "Technology Development" working group are: Adform AG, Arburg GmbH & Co KG, BASF SE, CeramTec AG, Deutsche Keramische Gesellschaft (DKG) e.V., Doncaster Precision Casting Bochum GmbH, Emil Bröll GmbH & Co. KG, Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS), H.C. Starck Ceramics GmbH & Co. KG, Inmatec Technologies GmbH, Kläger Spritzguss GmbH & Co. KG, MicroCeram GmbH, MKS Kunststoffspritzguss GmbH, Rauschert-Heinersdorf Pressing GmbH and Sembach GmbH & Co. KG.
ARBURG GmbH + Co KG
Arburg, a German machine construction company, is one of the leading global manufacturers of injection moulding machines for plastics processing with clamping forces between 125 kN and 5,000 kN. Fields of application include the production of plastic parts for motor vehicles, communications and consumer electronics, medical technology, domestic appliances and packaging. The product range is completed by robotic systems, complex projects and other peripherals. Arburg's operations are coordinated by an integrated management system and are DIN EN ISO 9001 and 14001 certified. Arburg is represented by its own organisations in 23 countries at 31 locations and by trading partners in more than 50 countries. However, the machines are produced exclusively in the parent factory in Lossburg (Germany) - with the mark of quality "made by Arburg - made in Germany". From a total of more than 2,000 Arburg employees, around 1,700 work in Germany. Around 330 further employees work at the worldwide Arburg organisations.
Further information about Arburg can be found at www.arburg.com