Investment in new injection moulding machinery at the University of Swansea is opening up new opportunities for research projects with the plastics manufacturing industry.
The University’s Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) has recently invested in technology from Engel UK that will enable it to produce lightweight parts using the company’s foammelt (MuCell) process.
This process involves nitrogen or carbon dioxide being metered into the plasticising unit, which causes the melt to expand in a very controlled way after injection into the mould.
Negative compression further ensures a uniform micro-cell distribution in the foam structure. Popular because of its ability to deliver lighter components of perfect quality with a lower clamping force, this technology is being introduced in many applications including packaging, aerospace and automotive.
“If you are comparing this process with un-foamed technology, it can be seen that MuCell technology minimises warpage and the occurrence of sink marks. Possibly, of most interest to the manufacturing industry and the research sector are the advantages offered by foam injection moulding in process engineering, machine dimensioning and part design,” explained Graeme Herlihy, Managing Director of Engel UK.
The Academy at Swansea is part of the University’s new £450million Bay Campus and provides industry-led postgraduate research training, allowing students to work towards a Doctorate qualification.
“The benefits derived from smaller processing machines, reduced wall thickness and ultimately lower raw material costs are all areas for exploration. The research facilities offered by The Materials and Manufacturing Academy at Swansea University are clearly of great value to the plastic processing industry,” Herlihy added.
The postgraduate programme involves the undertaking of a four-year research project that is determined, sponsored and co-supervised by an industrial partner. In addition to the research project the taught element of the EngD (Engineering Doctorate) also provides training in business, management and leadership skills to enhance.
18 January 2017