Affordable Access

Publisher Website

Robust parameter design of micro-injection molded gears using a LIGA-like fabricated mold insert

Journal of Materials Processing Technology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.jmatprotec.2009.05.032
  • Micro-Injection Molding
  • Plastic Gear
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Robust Design
  • Uv-Liga
  • Design
  • Mathematics


Abstract Micro-injection molding, with advantages of easy mass production and low cost, is a key technology for producing micro components. Nevertheless, a low yield rate of high-quality molded parts is common due to problems associated with geometric precision, molecular orientation, and optical properties. Solutions to such problems must consider the machine, mold design, and process parameter settings. However, optimal performance becomes relatively less attainable when process parameters deviate due to inevitable process tolerances and change in an operation environment. This study has two goals: (1) fabrication of high-precision mold inserts using UV-LIGA; and, (2) identification of robust parameters that ensure production quality. Two gear mold-inserts with outside diameters of approximate 6 mm and 4 mm, named as the 6 mm and 4 mm gears, are introduced. First, lithography of thick photoresist SU8-50 is utilized as the initial structure seed layer to electroform the Ni gear mold insert. Second, this study investigates two key geometrical dimensions-the outside diameter and tooth thickness of the molded gears. The robust optimization of multiple objectives is introduced to identify robust parameter settings with high dimensional accuracy and high yield rates for molded gears despite process parameter deviations. Experimental results indicate that electroformed Ni mold inserts have good quality and are successfully utilized in the subsequent micro-injection molding process, demonstrating the feasibility of the mold inserts fabricated using UV-LIGA. The micro-injection molding experiments suggest that mold temperature, holding pressure, and injection speed have significant effects on dimensional quality characteristics of molded gears. The robust parameters derived from the proposed method increase yield rates of the 6 mm gear from 10% to 91%, and those of the 4 mm gear from 38% to 93% in comparison with the initial point, thereby demonstrating application effectiveness.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.