International Colloquium Plastics Technology IKV demonstrates current research activities

Editor: Barbara Schulz

Germany - On the occasion of a recently held press conference, the Aachen-based IKV opened its doors to give selected journalists an insight into the institute's research activities. Speakers will also tackle these and other current topics in research at IKV's upcoming Colloquium in February 2016.

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Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Hopmann, head of IKV, will open the Colloquium with a lecture on Industry 4.0 and strategies for plastics technologies, and look at the topic of additive manufacturing from his point of view as a researcher. On 6 November he gave journalists a sneak peek of what to expect from the Colloquium next February.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Hopmann, head of IKV, will open the Colloquium with a lecture on Industry 4.0 and strategies for plastics technologies, and look at the topic of additive manufacturing from his point of view as a researcher. On 6 November he gave journalists a sneak peek of what to expect from the Colloquium next February.
(Source: Schulz)

From 24 to 25 February 2016, the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) in Industry and the Skilled Crafts at RWTH Aachen University will host the 28th edition of its renowned "International Colloquium Plastics Technology" in Aachen, Germany from 24-25 February. The event, which is held every two years, is again expected to attract some 800 experts from the global plastics industry, the organisers said. In 2014, the Colloquium brought together delegates from more than 300 companies and 15 nations. Because of the international character of the event, all papers will be interpreted simultaneously into English.

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Over the two days of the event, IKV researchers will present the latest research projects at the IKV, while well-known industry experts will underline the practical relevance of the research results for the plastics and related industries.

Furthermore, five plenary lectures given by high-calibre speakers from the plastics segment will deal with the latest topics affecting the industry: additive manufacturing, “Industry 4.0” and lightweight construction.

Plastics for lightweight construction in the automotive industry

Dr. Jochen Kopp from BMW, for example, will talk about the use of plastics for lightweight construction in the automotive industry. Dr. Heinz Neubert from Siemens will look at the additive manufacturing of plastic parts in a digitised industry, and Günter Hofmann from Werkzeugbau Siegfried Hofmann will speak about additive manufacture in mould construction.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Hopmann, head of IKV, will open the Colloquium with a lecture on Industry 4.0 and strategies for plastics technologies, and look at the topic of additive manufacturing from his point of view as a researcher.

On the occasion of a recently held press conference, Hopmann and his team opened the doors to give selected journalists an insight into the institute's research activities.

For instance, Julian Heinisch will talk about and present the institute's research activities in "Industry 4.0 in injection moulding" - Increasing production efficiency by taking account of disturbance variables in injection moulding simulation and process control. With the aid of examples, the IKV will demonstrate how the production efficiency of injection moulding can be increased by optimisations that begin at the virtual level and, through self-optimisation, are continued at machine level.

In-Mould Metal Spraying

Philipp Ochotta gave interested journalists a preview of his paper on "In-Mould Metal Spraying (IMMS)". It combines injection moulding with thermal metal spraying to produce plastic parts with metallic surfaces. In a first step, a metal layer is applied by thermal spraying to selective areas of the cavity surface in the injection moulding tool (in-mould). In the next step, this metal coating is backmoulded with plastic. The metal layer and the plastic are subsequently demoulded together as a plastic component with an integrated partial metal surface. Compared with the established processes for metallising plastic injection-moulded parts – such as PVD coating, the use of electrically conductive plastic compounds, and the overmoulding of metal lattices – the new integrative process approach allows greater design freedom combined with very good electrical properties.

The new IMMS process opens up a wide variety of applications in the fields of electronics and electrical engineering, decoration and heat management. Conceivable would be, for example, the production of engine-regulating devices made of plastic with an integrated electromagnetic shield. Interior parts in the automotive industry could be provided with a partial metal surface to generate a "cool touch" effect, and injection-moulded cooling elements could achieve a higher cooling performance through a metallised outer skin.

Under the leadership of Julian Schild, the IKV is carrying out research into the combination of thermoforming and injection moulding processes in cooperation with the Institute of Forming Technology and Lightweight Construction (IUL) at TU Dortmund University. The project involves forming the metal sheet inserts and moulding the plastic part simultaneously to give the component its final geometry.

With the help of a combined mould technology, the metal is shaped both by the closing motion of the injection moulding machine and by the injection pressure of the plastic melt. Using this process, it is possible to shape metal inserts with a thickness of up to 2.0 mm. One of the requirements of this combination process is the use of a cohesive joining technique with the help of a cohesive or bonding agent.

Other highlights of the tour through the IKV in Aachen included:

"Making parts lighter with thermoplastic foams" - IKV study focuses on improving surface quality through variothermal mould temperature control

"Controlling solidification processes in plastics" - IKV researches modelling and process control in injection moulding as part of SFB 1120

"Homogeneous film thickness through simulation of the pre-distributor" - IKV studies potential for improving wall thickness distribution in blown film extrusion

"Lightweight construction through long fibre-reinforced thermoplastics" - IKV researches variothermal mould technology in compression moulding and integrative strength analysis in injection moulding

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