Kistler and STASA develop an automatic method for the prognosis of injection molded part quality

Swiss company Kistler Instrumente AG of Winterthur is the leading international supplier of sensors and systems for in-line cavity pressure-based quality monitoring of injection molding processes. German specialist Steinbeis Angewandte Systemanalyse GmbH (STASA) with headquarters in Stuttgart has many years of experience in the development of process models, online prognosis of quality features based on characteristic process values as well as the application of complex mathematical methods and models to industrial processes. This expertise is based on scientifically corroborated methods such as the design of experience (DoE) and the generation of models, and can be reliably applied to injection molding.

 

The implementation of approved Kistler systems into process-related quality monitoring of injection molding processes based on process profile characteristics such as the properties and tolerances of the cavity pressure curve is already widely established. Kistler and STASA have now joined forces to develop an enhanced quality monitoring method for injection molding processes that allows the direct quality monitoring and definite prognosis of the quality of the currently molded part by using the quality models of the STASA QC program. Based on the process models and measured process parameters, the final dimensions of the molded part can be predicted online, i.e. while the part is being produced. Immediately after injection molding, this approach provides information on whether the part will meet specified dimensional tolerances when it is used.

The new concept has many benefits for manufacturers and OEMs of injection molded products: they will receive information on the tolerance limits directly from the part specification and can use this criterion as a parameter of the process monitoring system. This technique significantly enhances in-line quality monitoring of injection molding processes: the limits of monitoring parameters such as pressure maxima, pressure integrals and other values need no longer be defined and evaluated. Instead, the relevant correlations between process profiles and quality criteria are acquired during mold sampling and are then used for process monitoring. The DoE used during mold sampling has beneficial side effects, because the injection molding process can be optimized automatically and ideal parameters for meeting the required quality criteria can be defined within the process latitude.

This combination of process and quality monitoring with quality prognosis has long been requested by molders of high-quality, extremely sensitive, hard-to-assemble moldings such as producers of medical parts and pharmaceutical components. This technology is integrated into Kistler CoMo Injection process monitoring systems as an optional module. Quality prognosis will become available as a high-end option for the CoMo Injection during the course of 2011.

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