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Swiss Plastics Cluster is supported by the New Regional Policy of the Canton of Fribourg in establishing collaborative applied research projects. The projects bring together companies with academic partners.


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Vers les processus industriels de la plasturgie 4.0 : Recherche de gains de productivité par le diagnostic des lignes de production plastique et par l’amélioration process

L’étude Process4Plastics (P4P) se subdivise en deux projets dont la finalité est l’amélioration de la productivité et la réduction des coûts de production du secteur de la plasturgie. L’avant-projet intitulé P4P-1 a été réalisé en 2015 avec la collaboration de 5 entreprises du Swiss Plastics Cluster et le soutien du PST-FR. Les résultats de P4P-1 sont l’iden-tification des nouvelles exigences clients et des enjeux de la plasturgie dans le contexte d’Industry 4.0, les concepts méthodologiques pour améliorer le procédé d’injection et la démarche de résolution retenue pour la poursuite de l’étude P4P. Le deuxième projet intitulé P4P-2 est le sujet de la présente demande. Son objectif de disposer d’une méthodo-logie d’ingénierie process P4P de la production de pièces plastiques injectées. Cette méthodologie repose sur l’ex-périence acquise des expérimentations réalisées en laboratoire et en entreprise et des procédures d’amélioration dé-veloppées. La méthodologie P4P est constituée de composants méthodologiques basés d’une part sur des mesures et leur qualification utilisant en autre des approches inspirées du Data Mining et, d’autre part, de nouvelles procédures qui pourront être transférée en partie ou dans leur ensemble sur les sites de production en préparation à la production intelligente selon les concepts d’industrie 4.0.

HES-SO//Fribourg HEIA-FR institut SESI, Johnson Electric Switzerland AG, Plastechnik AG, Schoeller Allibert Swiss Sàrl, DuPont International Operations Sàrl, GF Machining Solutions, Redel SA, Plaspaq SA


Application Study of Sensible Component Overmolding for integrative assembly

In the field of mechatronic products, the manufacturing process of plastic injection molding could be an attractive and economic way to realize integrative assemblies, because it allows to realize the assembly as well as the protection of different components within one single process. However, high pressure and temperature are inherent in the process which bears the risk of damaging sensitive components.

As of today, sensitive components are majorly assembled to the plastics case in additional operation steps (gluing, screwing, welding etc.) which are both time and cost intense. ASSCO aims at providing a code of conduct of good practices on the realization of integrative assembly of sensitive components in the injection molding process. Hence, the complexity of mechatronic assemblies will be considerately simplified.

HES-SO//Fribourg HEIA-FR iRAP, Johnson Electric International AG, JESA SA, Phonak Communications SA, Contrinex SA, Adatis SA, E.M.S Electro Medical Systems SA, Plaspaq SA, Grand Perret (Group Faiveley), Nestlé STC et Dentsply Maillefer SA



life-cycle of polymer-based industrial items under environmental conditions

Aging of plastic items exposed to high temperature, aggressive chemicals or ultraviolet radiation stems from a combination of molecular oxidation (chemical decay) and micro-cracks (physical decay). By correlating chemical bonds breaking, observed by methods developed in the previous project PolyAge, with the propagation of cracks, measured by a novel ultrasonic method, this project shall allow estimating the global lifetime cycle of industrial polymers.. 

HES-SO//Fribourg HEIA-FR ChemTech, Johnson Electric International AG, JESA SA, Wago Contact SA, and Geberit Fabrication SA

Poster PDF

Process4Plastics (P4P-1)

The forming process and its qualification in plastic processing depend strongly on the requirements of the end product and of the productivity. The domain of process engineering is at the heart of the plastics processing expertise. This must provide new technological and organizational answers to the following problem

• Upgrading of production equipment based on diagnostics
• Taking into account of the development of Industry 4.0 with smart plastics production sites
ensuring productivity gains while being more environmentally friendly.

Process4Plastics (P4P) study is subdivided in two projects that aim to improve the productivity and to decrease production costs for the plastics processing sector. The first project entitled P4P-1 funded by PST-FR represents a preliminary analysis phase with the purpose to identify new customer requests and challenges of plastic processing 4.0 which companies will face in the time-frame of 2015 to 2020. Based on the results of the first project and on the proposed approach for the follow-up study, a second project entitled P4P-2 can be carried out with the support of interested companies as project partners. These companies are looking for a dedicated methodology of P4P process engineering for the production of plastics parts applying diagnostics of production lines (downstream process) and product/process value analyses (upstream process).

HES-SO//Fribourg HEIA-FR iRAP, Contrinex AG, DuPont International Operations Sarl, GF Machining Solutions, Johnson Electric Switzerland AG, Kistler Instrumente AG, Plastechnik AG

Tight Overmolding

Application study of direct overmolding of inserts through injection process aimed to reach a high level of sealing..  

The over-molding of inserts is an already established hybrid technology. The application of an integrative technology, avoiding adding operations or using small tolerances, offers economic and ecological benefits. A major issue of this technology is the achievement of a tight bond between inserts and the overmolded part. The purpose of the Tight Overmolding project consists of establishing a compendium of good practices for inserts’ overmolding.

HES-SO//Fribourg HEIA-FR iRap, Johnson Electric International AG, JESA SA, Mecaplast SA, Contrinex SA, Fischer Connectors SA, LEMO SA, Sonceboz SA, Du Pont de Nemours et Biesterfeld.

Flyer PDF
Poster PDF


Polymers lifetime prediction in industrial applications by physico-chemical characterization of the degradation process during simulated ageing

This project aims at predicting the lifetime of polymers exposed to elevated temperatures, aggressive chemicals and ultraviolet radiations. This requires a thorough understanding of the chemical and structural degradation phenomena which occur during ageing. To reach this challenging goal, we will monitor the thermal, spectroscopic, topographic and mechanical properties of polymers used in industrial applications during simulated ageing procedures. The resulting predicted lifetime shall significantly reduce the time needed for selecting and qualifying materials for new products.

HEIA-FR Institut ChemTech, Wago Contact SA, JESA SA, Johnson Electric International AG, Geberit Fabrication SA, PST-FR

Project poster


Application study of highly conductible hybrid polymers for injection molding process

Heightened global competitiveness leads to an increasingly complex integration, miniaturization and modularity of electrical and electronic products. The possibility to integrate conductive tracks directly in plastic parts through innovative materials, makes it a viable alternative for the development of new products. The SigmaPlast project aims at evaluating the potential of hybrid polymers for the injection of conductive tracks.

HEIA-FR, institut iRAP, Wago Contact SA, Phonak Communications SA, Meggitt SA, Fisher Connectors SA, Sonceboz SA, Dolder AG / RTP, Plaspaq SA, ASULAB, Swatch Group

Flyer SigmaPlast


Characterization of wear in plastics gears

The wear resistance of plastic parts is and remains an issue that is frequently faced by member companies of the Swiss Plastics when choosing the right design as well as the best mix of material pairs. The materials are characterized independently of the matching of the finished products and are always tested against standard steel. The behavior of plastics material varies according to the type of material it gets in contact with. It can therefore be concluded that a major loophole remains with respect to the provided information on materials by manufacturers as regards the ideal combination of material pairs for product development. 

HEIA-FR, Johnson Electric, KBS Spritztechnik, ASS AG, Minimotor, Sonceboz

Flyer UsagE


Low cost polymers for high temperatures and fatigue

The use of plastic parts at high temperature and with alternating loads, requires high performance polymers which are first and foremost PEEK. However, the cost of material poses a major limitation for its application. Therefore a sound knowledge of properties of alternative materials is vital to utilize them for specific applications. Small modifications of existent polymers (fillers, reinforcement, grafting, cross-linking) create stable and cheaper alternatives compared to PEEK. The project entails a detailed characterization of actual high performance thermoplastics and explores and tests proposed modifications.

HEIA-FR Institut TIN - iRAP, Johnson Electric, Plaspaq, Jesa, Sonceboz, ETA



Wear resistance of plastic components

High performance plastics offer solutions that are well suited to mass production and perform increasingly demanding technical functions in terms of load capacity and durability. Wear resistance is a problem area that is frequently encountered by Network members when it comes to selecting the design of combined materials. The project's goal is to create an ample knowledge base on wear behavior of a large number of plastic-to-plastic and plastic-to-metal combinations. Besides, the study at hand is complemented by an additional study on post-process treated plastics by analyzing the influence of treatments on wear behavior. The experimental data obtained is decisive for the selection of appropriate material combinations and for the design of parts subjected to wear.

HEIA-FR Institut TIN - iRAP, Johnson Electric, Minimotor, Tedec AG, KBS-Spritztechnik CH GmbH, Liebherr Machines Bulle SA


Application study on magnetically charged injectable polymers

Designers of devices using permanent magnets (hard magnetic materials) or sensors (soft magnetic materials) are limited by the configuration and characteristics of parts available on the market and find it difficult to source the combination of configuration to properties which is best suited for their purpose. The use of plastic injection material heavily loaded with magnetic particles could potentially make it possible to achieve tailor-made products, given the appropriate post-processing techniques. The purpose of the project is to explore different implementation processes and to create a mapping of magnetic properties and geometric limits.

HEIA-FR Institut TIN - iRAP, Johnson Electric SA, Digi Sens AG, Minimotor SA, Geberit Fabrications SA, Jesa SA, Plaspaq SA


Plastics injection: productivity benchmark

Companies involved in plastics injection molding often put in place measures designed to improve productivity and to reduce cost. However, it remains a challenge for companies to compare their performance with the performance of competitors, especially of those operating in a different economic environment (i.e. Asia). The objective of the project is to establish a valid productivity comparison for partner companies which, even if they are operating in different markets, face the same macroeconomic environment.

Johnson Electric International AG, Wago Contact SA, KBS-Spritztechnik CH GmbH, Mecaplast SA, Jesa SA, Cebo Injection Sàrl, Fri Up, Platinn, HEIA-FR, institut SeSi



This project combines the efforts of companies active in the field of biomaterials to select the best materials and to refine processing techniques. Consequently, the Swiss Plastics Cluster to shorten their learning time for the production of biodegradable polymers.

HEIA-FR Institut TIN - iRAP, Cafag SA, Plaspaq SA, Dentsply Maillefer SA, UNI-FR Département de chimie, ISPA Alençon




To prevent waste in the injection channels that are used to cast the pieces, hot runners are used to bring the plastic directly into the mold cavity. They allow a saving of plastic, increased productivity and reduced environmental impact. However, this technology has its limitations, since some materials degrade in the hot runner. The objective of this project is to identify the nature of the degradation problems and find solutions.

HEIA-FR Institut TIN - iRAP, SAIA-Burgess Murten AG, Wago Contact SA, Mecaplast SA, André Gueissaz SA, Hasco Suisse AG, Jesa SA

Lotus 2


This project aims to apply the knowledge acquired during the flagship project (Lotus 1) for a further field in polymer processing, namely extrusion processing. A further goal is to define the relative costs and longevity of certain non-stick coatings when applied to the entire mold. In the scope of this project, we are going to carry out (nano-) tribological analyses to ascertain if the effectiveness of a coating is related to a quantity that can be measured at laboratory level. This project will form the basis of a service platform that makes it possible to identify the appropriate non-stick coating for any polymer.

HEIA-FR Institut TIN - iRAP, Geberit Fabrications SA, Saia Burgess Murten AG, Maillefer SA, Redel SA, KBS-Spritztechnik GmbH

Lotus 1


Some injection molding polymers leave deposits in mold cavities. These deposits can cause product defects and damage molds, leading to production stoppages and losses. The research project aims to identify a coating that can be applied to cavities in order to prevent deposits and reduce the frequency of mold maintenance. Ultimately, such self-cleaning molds will have a significant influence on injection molders’ productivity.

HEIA-FR Institut TIN - iRAP, Institut Adolphe Merkle, Wago Contact SA, SAIA-Burgess Murten AG, Mecaplast SA

Project poster





Smart rheo


From a technical perspective, the performance characteristics of a given polymer essentially depends upon its viscosity in function of temperature and shear rate. This relationship makes it possible to control the quality of materials used in injection and assure consistent quality. The injection simulation program calls for knowledge of several parameters of the material used. Even though the software has a well-equipped database, it can happen that the analyses concerning specific materials have to be approximated using related, but not identical data. With the acquisition of a capillary rheometre, the Plastics Cluster now has the necessary means of analysis to fill this gap and control basic materials efficiently.

HEIA-FR Institut TIN - iRAP, Wago Contact SA, Mecaplast SA


ALPlastics is a network of private/public actors involved in local development policies in 5 Alpine regions. ALPlastics will promote a public-private cooperation and create proper conditions for OPEN and STRATEGIC INNOVATION in the Alpine Plastics Clusters and strengthen the related economic sector. In the frame of ALPlastics, the project partners will work at an OPEN INNOVATION PLATFORM: they will analyse market megatrends and drivers; scout and benchmark R&D top competencies and then create an atlas of top technology providers and propose these technologies to Alpine space SMEs, with the aim to steer strategic innovation of SMEs and strengthen their competitiveness. The result can be an improved competitiveness on the market, and an ability to create new businesses, also outside the typical market frames.



Proplast (IT), Clusterland Oberösterreich GmbH, Kunststoff-Cluster (AT), Plastipolis (FR), Chemie-Cluster Bayern GmbH (DE), CARMA (FR), Swiss Plastics Cluster (CH), Regione Piemonte (IT)

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