With the implementation of the project “Combining simulations, machines and tools to optimise the production process of polymer products” (CoSiMa), the project partners have made significant progress with the activities carried out thus far. We have created the first hardware and software prototypes of products and prototype tools for experimental testing, which are intended to support further activities for the optimisation of the injection moulding processes with which we will be able to automatically monitor the adjustment settings on injection moulding machines.
The latter depend on the experience of the injection molding machine operator and the rather demanding task given the complexity of the injection molded product. For the successful integration and management of individual smart mechatronic tools within the production cycle of injection moulding, we are preparing an optimisation cycle of the system, which enables control over optimal process parameters and the activation of changes on the injection moulding machine. We have also included toolmakers and plastic mass producers in the process of developing the connection of simulations, machines and tools.
During the project’s two-year period, we have focused on the development and production of special sensor electronics to be installed on the injection moulding tools, data exchange between the injection moulding machine and the injection moulding simulation program, modelling of influential factors in the injection moulding process, analysis of the effect of the production space’s air temperature on the temperature in the tool cavity, and analysis of flow conditions. Despite the coronavirus pandemic and the Covid-19 regulations, we have managed to carry out most of our planned activities in the previous year. We performed a holistic characterization of material properties for the selected thermoplastic polymeric materials, the results of which will come in useful in mass industrial testing of the optimisation system. In the future, we will perform a larger number of tests of the optimisation system with various materials on the constructed and manufactured prototype injection tools, a plan already set last year. This year, in addition to extensive testing, we are also waiting for the validation of the optimisation system, where we will test individual functionalities.
Project is co-financed by the Republic of Slovenia, Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund.