Figure 1: Micro injection moulded part used in medical applications. It has a volume of 0.07 mm3 and a mass of 0.1 mg.

New horizons of micro moulding set by the European project MICROMAN

Federico Baruffi, PhD student at DTU MEK working in the European project MICROMAN, has developed new strategies to improve quality of miniaturized plastic components production

Federico Baruffi is an Early Stage Researcher of the European project MICROMAN and PhD student at DTU Mechanical Engineering working under the supervision of Associate Professor Guido Tosello and Researcher Matteo Calaon. The industrial partner of his project is Ortofon A/S, a world leader in cartridge manufacturing and precision engineering.

His research topic is micro injection moulding, a manufacturing process used to produce micro plastic components, which are very common in the medicinal, communication, biotechnology, automotive and avionics sectors.

“The training I receive during the MICROMAN workshops is essential for the development of my project”, says the PhD student, “Learning from the leading experts in micro manufacturing and brainstorming with my fellow ESRs give me the tools for carrying out a fruitful research”.

In particular, the researcher at DTU investigates how to improve the quality control of micro moulded parts and, at the same time, make it faster and more efficient by decreasing the time-consuming measuring procedures that are applied nowadays in the industry. In fact, the current industrial state-of-the-art does not include a robust method to control the dimensional quality of micro moulded parts in-line, that is, during the very manufacturing procedure.

In a recent paper published in 2018 (available in open access here) Federico and his research team have proposed a novel way to assess the quality of a micro medical component in-line. In particular, they correlate the monitored process variables with the most important characteristics of the part, thus establishing a comprehensive strategy to verify the quality of each produced micro part right during the manufacturing process. “Such an approach can be the key for the next era of manufacturing”, adds Federico Baruffi, “Industry 4.0 will allow having an infinitely greater amount of data during the process, and this data must be used for controlling micro manufacturing processes aiming at zero-defect productions”.

Federico working with the Wittmann Battenfeld MicroPower 15 micro injection moulding machine used in his experiments.
Federico working with the Wittmann Battenfeld MicroPower 15 micro injection moulding machine used in his experiments.




Christen H. Nielsen, CEO Ortofon A/S:

“With the MICROMAN project Ortofon has greatly expanded its know-how and technology understanding of micro injection molding, in particular with respect to the frontiers of dimensions and tolerances achievable in plastic micro component production. At Ortofon we always look for integration of new technologies into our existing high precision mechanical engineering and micro manufacturing capabilities. Therefore, it has been a pleasure to work with Federico who has helped us expand our micro injection molding know-how. I would like to commend Federico particularly for his ability to integrate with the Ortofon teams and relating the results of the MICROMAN project to the Ortofon’s high precision engineering and micro production technology platform.”


Fun Facts

In the first two years of the project Federico has:

  • Moulded and measured 5000 micro parts
  • Given 9 oral presentations at international conferences and scientific events
  • Presented 4 posters at international events
  • Presented so far to a total audience of 800 people