According to a study run by Aachen University, tape inserts offer enormous potential for injection molding parts.

The project, finalized by consortium led by the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) and the Institute for Plastics Processing at RWTH Aachen University (IKV), involved carrying out a detailed analysis of tape inserts in injection molded components over a period of eight months. The tapes, which are a few tenths of a millimeter thick, are continuous fibers, typically made of glass or carbon, completely impregnated and embedded in a thermoplastic matrix. The tapes can be precisely aligned to the loads in a component and are used primarily in applications with the aim of weight reduction, the researchers say. The aim of the conducted analysis was reportedly to identify new applications for the material.

‘We know that the integration of small amounts of high performance tapes into typical injection molded parts can contribute significantly to material savings in their manufacture,’ said Dr Kai Fischer, science director at IKV. ‘Lightweight construction is only a secondary effect; one of the main drivers for establishing the technology is cost reduction.’

‘Our analysis clearly underlined the potential of the tape inserts,’ added Dr Michael Emonts, AZL director. ‘With them, the material performance can be increased. Therefore, component costs can be saved by using cheaper injection molding compounds or less material or by optimizing the cycle time of the production process. It is also advantageous that the process sequence with tape inserts is certainly comparable with in-mold labelling processes, so that some existing automation technology can be used.’

The partners say that they have defined several follow-up projects and are also forming a consortium for the short-term identification and implementation of new applications.

This story uses material from AZL, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.