As stated in Europe's strategic vision for manufacturing for 2020, European industry needs to 'increasingly concentrate its capabilities on high-added value products and technologies offering a broadened service range that fulfils worldwide customer requirements'. One factor contributing in this direction concerns the innovation in the way a product is designed and manufactured. For the mass production of micro high-value added parts, micro injection moulding has become a key technology since it combines the capabilities of a low cost production process with the requirements of a micro part. However from the literature review carried out, it was found that whilst studies have been conducted on the fabrication of single-material micro injection moulding, knowledge on the design and manufacture of multi-material parts replicated through micro injection moulding is lacking.
Within this context and given that Malta already has a strong plastic manufacturing base employing thousands of people, this project aims to contribute towards making a quantum leap in injection moulding to result in higher value added manufacturing i.e. that of multi-material injection moulding at the micro-scale level. To achieve this objective, this project aims at generating and sharing new knowledge on the design and manufacture of multi-material micro components fabricated by injection moulding. By exploiting multi-material micro injection moulding, it is expected that the competitiveness of the Maltese manufacturing industry will be enhanced since, for instance, assembly of micro components can be partially or fully eliminated.
In addition, by involving industrial partners (see consortium members below) with complementary expertise, this project will contribute towards clustering a number of relevant Maltese companies to catalyse local multi-material micro injection moulding expertise.