Microsystems lab on a chipParts are formed and assembled in the injection moulding machine and subsequently overmoulded in the downstream injection molding machine. Finally, the finished part is removed and deposited.
At K 2013 in hall 16, booth D22, Austrian injection moulding machine maker Wittmann Battenfeld will present the production of a “lab on a chip” as an impressive example from the field of medical technology to demonstrate a two-component application of cleanroom micro injection moulding. The product is manufactured in a production cell consisting of two MicroPower 15 machines.
The equipment for this application consists of two MicroPower 15/10 machines connected with each other by a clean-room tunnel. The injection-moulded parts are transported and joined together by the integrated W8VS2 Scara robots.
Here, both the special micro-structured surface of the moulded part and the coordination of the interacting machines and their robot systems by the control system are regarded as special challenges. The moulds are supplied by Microsystems UK.
In this production process, various components of the “check-card lab” are injection-moulded, checked and assembled in the upstream MicroPower. The parts are subsequently deposited on a transfer module and transported to the downstream MicroPower, where the assemblies are picked up and inserted into the mould by a combined insertion/removal handling system. Here, the parts are overmoulded with TPE (thermoplastic elastomer), then removed and transferred to a depositing system.
The objective of this demonstration is to give trade visitors an idea of the MicroPower’s capabilities and its flexible application options. Firstly, it shows the extremely high degree of precision with which micro parts and micro surface structures can be reproduced and manufactured in a stable injection moulding process. Secondly, it highlights the outstanding flexibility of the MicroPower and its peripheral appliances. Thanks to these attributes, this specialized machine is able to accomplish even highly complex tasks.
Lab on a chip
The term “lab on a chip” normally designates a microfluidic system which scales down certain selected functions of conventional labs (such as the separation of individual ingredients from a mixture) to the dimensions of a microchip, using only minute volumes of fluid.
With this technology, fluids such as blood can be completely and automatically analyzed on a single chip. Transport of the samples between the various reaction and analysis chambers is effected by capillary forces.
From the engineering point of view, lab-on-a-chip systems can be regarded as a sub-category of micro-electromechanical systems, which combine miniaturized sensor systems with micro fluidics. This involves special challenges in terms of structuring and finishing component surfaces and modifying their electrical attributes.
The MicroPower is the machine model of the PowerSeries from Wittmann Battenfeld specially designed for injection-moulding small and micro parts. The specially remarkable feature of the MicroPower is the innovative two-step screw-and-plunger injection unit with a shot volume range from 0.05 to 4 cm3. Via this injection unit, thermally homogeneous melt is injected with the result of premium-quality parts from absolutely stable production with short cycle times. Thanks to the all-electric MicroPower’s excellent clean-room compatibility, this machine is particularly predestined for medical technology applications.