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Analysis of the Influence of Microcellular Injection Molding on the Environmental Impact of an Industrial Component
Isabel Clavería 1 , Carlos Javierre, 1 Carmelo Pina, 1 Daniel Elduque, 1 Ángel Fernández, 1 Jorge Santolaria 2
1  Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Zaragoza EINA, Maria de Luna 3, 50018 Zaragoza, Spain
2  Department of Design and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Zaragoza EINA, Maria de Luna 3, 50018 Zaragoza, Spain

Published: 01 January 2014 by Hindawi Limited in Advances in Mechanical Engineering
Hindawi Limited, Volume 6; 10.1155/2014/793269
Abstract: Microcellular injection molding is a process that offers numerous benefits due to the internal structure generated; thus, many applications are currently being developed in different fields, especially home appliances. In spite of the advantages, when changing the manufacturing process from conventional to microcellular injection molding, it is necessary to analyze its new mechanical properties and the environmental impact of the component. This paper presents a deep study of the environmental behavior of a manufactured component by both conventional and microcellular injection molding. Environmental impact will be evaluated performing a life cycle assessment. Functionality of the component will be also evaluated with samples obtained from manufactured components, to make sure that the mechanical requirements are fulfilled when using microcellular injection molding. For this purpose a special device has been developed to measure the flexural modulus. With a 16% weight reduction, the variation of flexural properties in the microcellular injected components is only 6.8%. Although the energy consumption of the microcellular injection process slightly increases, there is an overall reduction of the environmental burden of 14.9% in ReCiPe and 15% in carbon footprint. Therefore, MuCell technology can be considered as a green manufacturing technology for components working mainly under flexural load.
Keywords: environmental impact, Microcellular Injection Molding, Life Cycle Assessment, Impact Will Be Evaluated, carbon footprint, developed to measure, green manufacturing
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