Thin-film sensor technology for the monitoring of temperature control in plastic injection molding

Sensory multi-coupling element for the monitoring of the temperature control.
© Fraunhofer IST
Sensory insert for a multi coupling for the monitoring of the temperature control.

Challenge

The resource-efficient production of plastic components by means of injection molding is dependent on a precise temperature control of the molds. This is a significant factor in the cost-effective production of process-reliable and high-quality plastic parts. Currently, temperature fluctuations are often not detected due to the lack of direct measurement at the individual temperature-control channels.

Solution

As a solution, a special sensor insert was designed for integration within a 6-circuit multi-coupling. The multi-sensory layer system was deposited with high adhesion onto this exchangeable insert into the inner areas of the bore, and conductive tracks were structured across the rounded area. This sensory and media-resistant thin-film system, developed at the Fraunhofer IST, is based on DLC (diamond-like carbon) coatings produced by means of PECVD (Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition) technologies. 

Added value 

The sensor insert developed enables the spatially resolved measurement of pressure and temperature. Through the verification of the durability of the sensory thin-film system, further fields of application have been opened up in the area of the realization of highly resilient sensor technology for tribologically demanding systems and the in-situ monitoring in cyber-physical production systems.

Insights into the project

Structure of the individual layers of the multifunctional layer system on base body.
© Fraunhofer IST
Structure of the individual layers on the base body.
Multi coupling for temperature control in plastic injection molding.
© Fraunhofer IST
Multi coupling for temperature control in plastic injection molding.
Metal base body coated with the multi sensory layer system.
© Fraunhofer IST
Metal base body coated with the multi sensory layer system.

Funding reference

The project was funded by the Zentrales Innovationsprogramm Mittelstand, ZIM (Central Innovation Programme for small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs) of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) based on a resolution of the German Bundestag and the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations, AiF.

(formerly Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy)
© BMWK
(formerly Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy)

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