Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Influence of Injection Molding Parameters on the Mechanical Properties of Injected PC/ABS Parts

By Fatma Hentati and Neila Masmoudi

Submitted: August 3rd 2020Reviewed: November 20th 2020Published: December 7th 2020

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.95089

Downloaded: 156

Abstract

This study optimized the influence of process parameters on the mechanical properties during injection molding (IM) of PC/ABS blend. The Taguchi method of design of experiments (DOE) was employed to optimize the process parameters and to increase the tensile strength and the elasticity module. Taguchi’s L9 (34) orthogonal array design was employed for the experimental plan. Process parameters of the injection molding such as material temperature, injection pressure, holding time, and mold temperature were studied with three levels. The Signal to noise (S/N) ratio for mechanical properties of PC/ABS blend using the Taguchi method was calculated. Taguchi’s results proposed two sets of optimal injection parameters conditions to achieve the best mechanical characteristics (σ, E). The (S/N) ratio results proved that the injection pressure was the more prominent than the other IM process parameters for the tensile strength, and the material temperature was the more prominent for the elasticity module.

Keywords

  • PC/ABS parts
  • injection molding parameters
  • Taguchi method
  • mechanical properties

1. Introduction

Plastic injection molding (IM) is one of the most important polymer processing operations in the plastic industry nowadays. The application of this process is increasing significantly in many fields, especially in the automotive parts. The most process injection molding parameters that analyze the mechanical properties are pressure, temperature, and time.

Experimental and-error approach to control the process parameters for injection molding is no longer effective. Wrong selection of these parameters induces a drop in the mechanical properties of injected molded parts [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

Such problems can be solved by first developing optimization models correlating the responses and the process parameters. Optimizing these parameters requires a careful endeavor. Besides, the method of varying one parameter while keeping the others constant contains limitations such as the long time experience and the large number of experiments which raise its cost in order to get an important quality of the parts. Hence, a suitable optimization technique using design of experiment DOE by Taguchi approach is then applied to search for fine tuning of parameter values to obtain the desired responses. The Taguchi method introduces an integrated approach that is simple and efficient for finding the best range of designs for quality, performance, and computational cost [7, 8, 9]. Taguchi method is a useful methodology for analyzing the variation using the signal-to noise (S/N) ratio. The Taguchi analysis of the S/N ratio specifies three situations of quality characteristics, as well as the-larger-the-better (LB), the nominal-the-better (NB) and the-smaller-the-better (SB).

A great deal of research used this approach is being carried out to understand, identify critical factors and to optimize the molding process. For example, Wegrzyn et al. conducted a study to investigate the impact of injection speed and melt temperature on electrical conductivity and dynamic mechanical properties of PC/ABS-MWCNT Nano composites [10]. These authors figured out that the injected molded specimens recover conductivity. In addition, Wang et al. elaborated experimentally the compression behavior of PC/ABS during monotonic and cyclic loading over a wide-ranging of temperatures (up to 373 K) and strain rates (up to 5000 s−1) [11]. In parallel, Li et al. analyzed effect of process parameters namely, melt temperatures, injection speed and injection pressure to determine the influence of weld lines on appearance of PP products using Taguchi experimental design method [12].

Rafizadeh et al. showed that when fixing the mixing time and temperature, temperature and pressure of injection, mold temperature, and blend composition in mixing through the Taguchi orthogonal array, the impact strength of PC/ABS blend could be optimized [13]. Equally, Ozcelik studied the influence of the injection parameters and weld line on the mechanical properties of polypropylene (PP) during IM process via the design of experiment (DOE). Mechanical properties such as maximum tensile load, extension at break and charpy impact strength (notched) of the specimens were measured [14]. Furthermore, Kuram et al. discussed the tensile and the flexural strength during injection molding of virgin and recycled PBT/PC/ABS blends using Taguchi experimental design. The results showed the impact of injection pressure, holding pressure, and injection temperature on the mechanical properties of the molded parts [15]. Aditya M. Darekar used the Taguchi approach and found that quality and mechanical properties parts are mainly caused due to improper selection of the processing conditions during production [16].

In this study, the effect of the injection molding process on the mechanical properties of the injected PC/ABS parts was investigated. The Taguchi method was used to find out the optimal combinations of the injection molding (IM) parameters that provide better mechanical properties. These results are considered interesting especially in the automotive industries. We intend to reduce the rejection rate caused by the surface quality of some injected PC/ABS parts.

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2. Material and methods

2.1 Industrial context

SKG Company recognized by the injection and metallization of the PC/ABS automotive parts, discovered the occurrence of some defects in the surfaces of the injected parts. These defects caused a high rejection rate [17].

2.2 Material elaboration

The commercial PC/ABS blend used in this investigation was the T45 PG. This blend was proximately oven dried at 120°C for 4 h [17]. Its mechanical and thermal properties are exhibited in Table 1.

PropertiesMethodPC/ABS
MVR (260°C/5 kg)ISO 113312 cm3/10 min
Melt viscosity(1000 s−1/260°C)ISO 11443200 Pa.s
Vicat softening temperatureISO 306112°C
Tensile strength (50 mm/min)ISO 52749 MPa
Izod notched impact strength (23°C)°ISO 18040 kJ/m2

Table 1.

Characteristics data of PC/ABS blend [13].

2.3 Injection machine and molded part description

As illustrated in Figure 1(a), a horizontal injection molding machine “FCSHN 125SV” was used to elaborate the PC/ABS parts. Their maximum injection pressure and clamping force were 217 MPa and 125 kN, respectively. Its screw’s diameter was 34 mm.

Figure 1.

(a) Injection molding machine, (b) obtained specimens [17].

The injection mold forms three imprints presented in Figure 1(b). Imprint A was the tensile specimen. Imprint B was the dynamic tensile specimen. Imprint C was the torsion specimen [17].

This study is an alternate to investigate the impact of the injection process on the mechanical properties of injected PC/ABS parts.

2.4 Design of Experiment (DOE): Taguchi method

The developed Taguchi method goal is to determine the set of parameters which leads to the best mechanical properties of the PC/ABS injected part.

MINITAB 18 statistical software was used to find out the optimal processing conditions. A confirmation test was performed in order to guarantee the validity of the optimal experimental conditions considered from the design of the parameters.

Following preliminary tests carried out within the SKG Company, the choice of the factors and their levels was made as illustrated in Table 2.

IndexFactorsUnitLevel 1Level 2Level 3
AMaterial Temperature°C240250260
BInjection Pressurebar304050
CHolding Timesec4814
DTemperature Mold°C405060

Table 2.

Geometric and process factors in three levels.

The impact of the injection molding parameters on the mechanical characteristics are evaluated through the S/N ratio obtained in the Taguchi experimental plan. The S/N ratio was calculated by the larger is better quality characteristic for determining the effect of each process IM factor. The responses required are the tensile strength and the elasticity module.

2.5 Tensile tests

The tensile tests were carried out, with imposed displacement, on a machine of the LLYOD INSTRUMENT type equipped with a 5 kN load cell.

All tests were achieved at ambient temperature and for a strain rate of 5 mm/min. The local deformation of the specimens during these tests was measured using an extensometer having an initial length of 25 mm and an elongation of ±1 mm.

The measurement was repeated at least 4 times for the samples and the average of three sample readings was taken for accurate results. The specimens used for the simple tensile test are taken from the ISO 527-2 standard. Its geometry is illustrated in Figure 2.

Figure 2.

Tensile specimen geometry (in mm).

2.6 Experimental

The injection molding (IM) process parameters considered in this study were: material temperature (A), injection pressure (B), holding time (C) and mold temperature (D).

In order to optimize these parameters, the famous optimization approach Taguchi was adopted. One main reason for using Taguchi is the low number of experiments. The number of experiments required could be reduced to nine, instead of 81 (34) experiments to find out the parameters that influence on the mechanical properties.

As depicted in Table 3, an orthogonal array (OA) L9was involved to investigate the effect of the process IM parameters. Three levels for each factor were studied. The DOF for the three levels was 2 (DOF = number of levels−1).

Test
Number
Material Temperature (°C)Injection Pressure (bar)Holding Time (sec)Mold Temperature (°C)
11111
21222
31333
42123
52231
62312
73132
83213
93321

Table 3.

Experimental layout using an L9 orthogonal array.

The elaboration of the injected PC/ABS parts was done within the SKG factory. Each combination was iterated 5 times (9 × 5 = 45). The tensile strength and the elasticity module of the injected PC/ABS parts were regarded as the desired responses.

3. Results and discussion

3.1 Mechanical test results

Figure 3 shows only the standard deviations of the tensile strength and elasticity module as a function of each experiment number. The mechanical properties measured of each test performed were extracted. These values were introduced in the MINITAB 18 statistical software in order to optimize the injection parameters.

Figure 3.

Variation of the tensile strength and the elasticity module.

3.2 Taguchi results

3.2.1 Analysis of mean

The S/N ratios were calculated for each of the nine conditions of the test. All the details: the values, the average of each parameter at different levels, and the standard deviation of each test were depicted in Table 4.

Test NumberABCDσ(MPa)S/NE(MPa)S/N
1111146.4633.34183065.24
2122248.333.67188565.5
3133351.3834.21191865.65
4212349.3333.86194665.78
5223147.6633.561962.6765.85
6231246.6633.37185065.34
7313247.5333.531917.6765.65
8321357.534.231989.6765.97
933215534.81199065.97

Table 4.

Experimental results of mechanical properties for T45PG.

σ¯: Overall mean of tensile strength = 49.31 MPa.

E¯: Overall mean of elasticity module = 1921 MPa.

The responses studied are the tensile strength and the elasticity module. Tables 5 and 6 represented the average values of mean response relative to the four control parameters (factors) studied. Figures 4 and 5 illustrated these values.

ParameterLevel 1Level 2Level 3Max-MinRank
A48.7247.8951.363.471
B47.7849.16513.252
C48.2150.8948.862.684
D49.7247.550.743.243

Table 5.

Average values of the tensile strength (σ) at the different levels and their main effects.

ParameterLevel 1Level 2Level 3Max-MinRank
A187819201966881
B189819461919484
C189019401933503
D192818841951672

Table 6.

Average values of the elasticity module (E) at the different levels and their main effects.

Figure 4.

Average values of tensile strength (σ) for each parameter at levels 1–3.

Figure 5.

Average values of elasticity module (E) for each parameter at levels 1–3.

The optimum conditions corresponded to the maximum tensile strength and the elasticity module. These conditions illustrated the levels of the highest mean responses values chosen for each IM process parameter.

The averages values of the tensile strength (σ) and the elasticity module (E) were depicted in Figures 4 and 5. Hence, the optimum condition levels corresponding to the maximum tensile strength of the injection molding process of the PC/ABS blend was A3, B3, C2, and D3. That is to say, in the third level, at the material temperature of 260°C, represented by parameter A; an injection pressure of 50 bar, represented by parameter B; a mold temperature of 60°C represented by parameter D; and in the second level at a holding time of 8 sec, represented by parameter C. In parallel, the injection pressure was considered the more prominent than the other IM process parameters for the tensile strength.

Figure 5 shows that the material temperature represented by parameter A was more prominent than the other IM process parameters for the elasticity module. Moreover, the maximum elasticity module was recorded in the third level, at the material temperature of 260°C, represented by parameter A; a mold temperature of 60°C, represented by parameter D; and in the second level at; an injection pressure of 40 bar, represented by parameter B; a holding time of 8 sec, represented by parameter C.

The average values of S/N ratios of various parameters at different levels are shown in Tables 7 and 8. These values are plotted in Figures 6 and 7.

ParameterLevel 1Level 2Level 3Max-MinRang
A33.7433.634.20.591
B33.5833.8234.130.553
C33.6534.1233.770.464
D33.9133.5334.10.572

Table 7.

Average values (σ) of S/N ratios at the different levels and their main effects.

ParameterLevel 1Level 2Level 3Max-MinRang
A65.4765.6665.870.41
B65.5665.7865.660.224
C65.5265.7565.720.233
D65.6965.565.80.32

Table 8.

Average values (E) of S/N ratios at the different levels and their main effects.

Figure 6.

Average values (σ) of S/N ratio for each parameter at levels 1–3.

Figure 7.

Average values (E) of S/N ratio for each parameter at levels 1–3.

The S/N ratio analysis of the tensile strength plotted in Figure 6 provides in to the same levels of the parameters as depicted in Figure 4. Therefore, A3, B3, C2, and D3 were the best levels for reducing the variability of the injection molding process of the PC/ABS blend.

The S/N ratio analysis of the elasticity module depicted in Figure 7 offers in to the same levels of the parameters as shown in Figure 5. So, A3, B2, C2, and D3 were the best levels for reducing the variability of the injection molding process of the PC/ABS blend.

Table 3 shows the combinations of factor levels (3, 3, 2, 3) and (3, 2, 2, 3) were not among the obtained combinations within the tested experiment. Thus, it was necessary to verify the optimum injection molding conditions via confirmation tests of the experimental design.

3.2.2 Estimation of predicted mean

The optimum levels of the control parameters of the tensile strength (μ1) and the elasticity module (μ2) are determined as A3, B3, C2, D3 and A3, B2, C2, D3 respectively [18, 19]:

μ1=σ¯+A¯3σ¯+B¯3σ¯+C¯2σ¯+D¯3σ¯=51.36+51+50.89+50.743x49.31=56.06MPa.E1

Where A¯3is the average tensile strength at the third level of material temperature, 260°C, B¯3is the average tensile strength at the third level of injection pressure, 50 MPa, C¯2is the average tensile strength at the third level of holding time, 8 sec, D¯3is the average tensile strength at the third level of mold temperature, 60°C and σ¯is the mean of tensile strength obtained from Table 4.

μ2=E¯+A¯3E¯+B¯2E¯+C¯2E¯+D¯3E¯=1966+1946+1940+19513x1921=2040MPa.E2

Where A¯3is the average elasticity module at the third level of material temperature, 260°C; B¯2is the average elasticity module at the second level of injection pressure, 40 MPa, C¯2is the average elasticity module at the second level of holding time, 8 sec, D¯3is the average elasticity module at the third level of mold temperature, 60°C and E¯is the mean of elasticity module obtained from Table 4.

3.2.3 Confirmation tests

Three confirmation experiments were conducted at the optimum settings of the process parameters recommended by the investigation. The average tensile strength and the elasticity module obtained at the optimal level of the process parameters were 56.28 MPa and 1983 MPa.

Obviously, there was a difference between the computed and the experimental results. However, this difference can be considered not significant. Therefore, the confirmation tests indicate that the optimal conditions obtained above produced the best mechanical properties (σ, E) of the PC/ABS blend (Table 9).

Experimental valueMeasured valueError
Tensile Strength (σ)56.06 MPa56.28 MPa0.39%
Elasticity module (E)2040 MPa1983 MPa2.28%

Table 9.

Confirmation test results.

4. Conclusion

This work focused on Taguchi experimental method for investigating the influence of the injection parameters on the mechanical properties of PC/ABS during injection molding. Taguchi’s results proposed two sets of optimal injection parameters conditions to achieve the best mechanical characteristics (σ, E). A first series: a material temperature of 260°C, an injection pressure of 50 bars, a holding time of 8 sec and a mold temperature of 60°C. A second series: a material temperature of 260°C, an injection pressure of 40 bar, a holding time of 8 seconds and a mold temperature of 60°C. All mechanical properties measurements matched very well with the experimental data. The most important parameter affecting the maximum tensile strength was the injection pressure. However, the material temperature was considered the most important parameter affecting the elasticity module. Consequently, it is shown clearly the above performance characteristics in the injection molding process are greatly significant through this study. So, we recommend that future works involve the impact of injection processing on the surface quality of the PC/ABS parts.

Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful for the help of the SKG staff during the materialization of this study.

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Acronyms and abbreviations

IM

Injection Molding

DOE

Design of Experiment

S/N

Signal-to-Noise ratio

OA

The Orthogonal Array

Tma

The material temperature

Tmo

The mold temperature

Pinj

The injection pressure

th

The holding time

MPa

Mega Pascal

°C

Celsius temperature scale

bar

Bar pression scale

sec

second time scale

© 2020 The Author(s). Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Fatma Hentati and Neila Masmoudi (December 7th 2020). Influence of Injection Molding Parameters on the Mechanical Properties of Injected PC/ABS Parts, Quality Control - Intelligent Manufacturing, Robust Design and Charts, Pengzhong Li, Paulo António Rodrigues Pereira and Helena Navas, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.95089. Available from:

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