The increasing demand for small and even micro scale parts is boosting the development of reliable micro system technologies. Micro-fabrication process capabilities should expand to encompass a wider range of materials and geometric forms, by defining processes and related process chains that can satisfy the specific functional and technical requirements of new emerging multi-material products, and ensure the compatibility of materials and processing technologies throughout these manufacturing chains. Micro injection moulding is the process of transferring the micron or even submicron precision of microstructured metallic moulds to a polymeric products. It represents one of the key technologies for micro manufacturing because its mass production capability and relatively low production cost. Polymers have relatively low cost, and offer good mechanical and thermal strength, electrical insulation, optical transparency, chemical stability and biocompatibility.
In this work the authors investigate the micro injection moulding process parameters on the overall quality of a miniaturized dog-bone shaped specimen. The aim of the experimentation is to calibrate the process and set the machine for the correct filling of the component. A set of injection parameters are selected for study by experimental plan and simulation tool and then discussed. Simulation results are used to better understand the polymer flow behaviour during the filling phase. A commercial software is used and input data, collected during the micro injection moulding process, are included using as performance indicators flow front position and moulded mass. Process simulation can provide, at the present time, mostly qualitative input to the designer and process engineer. Two different polymers materials are tested and evaluated in relation to the process replication capability: Polyoxymethylene (POM) and Liquid Cristal Polymer (LCP). Finally, the moulding factors with significant statistical effects are identified. The holding pressure and holding time for POM and the holding pressure and injection velocity for LCP show the highest influence on achieving high part mass.