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A new project will investigate injection molding glass with the aim of creating a process for forming glass and plastic parts with 3D geometries.
The GlasSkin project, which was started in December by Kunststoff-Institut Lüdenscheid in Germany, could find automotive applications such as center consoles, where a plastic substrate and glass surface would be produced on a single machine.
Jörg Günther, a director at Kunststoff-Institut Lüdenscheid, said the project will use a multicomponent molding system to create complex shapes in which the glass component resembles a skin over the plastic component.
Günther spoke about the challenges of manufacturing precision and reproducibility in glass when he made a presentation at the Automotive Surfaces conference organized by European Plastics News in Berlin late last year. In shaped glass parts, there is currently limited contour accuracy in areas of high curvature.
He said the two-year GlasSkin project, which is being coordinated by Marius Fedler at Kunststoff-Institut Lüdenscheid, is aiming to produce samples with geometries that are not currently possible using conventional glass forming methods.
Glass types with low melting temperatures, in the range 350°-500° C, will be tested.
The project work will also cover the suitability of different plastic materials and issues such adhesion between the plastic and glass parts.