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Injection molding of products with functional surfaces by micro-structured, PVD coated injection molds

: Bobzin, K.; Bagcivan, N.; Gillner, A.; Hartmann, C.; Holtkamp, J.; Michaeli, W.; Klaiber, F.; Schöngart, M.; Theiß, S.


Production Engineering. Research and development 5 (2011), No.4, pp.415-422
ISSN: 0944-6524
ISSN: 1863-7353
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ILT ()

Molding of micro structures by injection molding leads to special requirements for the molds e.g. regarding wear resistance and low release forces of the molded components. At the same time it is not allowed to affect the replication precision. Physical vapor deposition (PVD) is one of the promising technologies for applying coatings with adapted properties like high hardness, low roughness, low Young's modulus and less adhesion to the melt of polymers. Physical vapor deposition technology allows the deposition of thin films on micro structures. Therefore, the influence of these PVD layers on the contour accuracy of the replicated micro structures has to be investigated. For this purpose injection mold inserts were laser structured with micro structures of different sizes and afterwards coated with two different coatings, which were deposited by a magnetron sputter ion plating PVD technology. After deposition, the coatings were analyzed by techniques regarding hardness, Young's modulus and morphology. The geometries of the micro structures were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy before and after coating. Afterwards, the coated mold inserts were used for injection molding experiments. During the injection molding process, a conventional and a variothermal temperature control of the molds were used. The molded parts were analyzed regarding roughness, structure height and structure width by means of laser microscopy.