The modern world is fast-evolving, interconnected and highly mobile, thus posing a significant challenge in harmonizing risk mitigation measures against emerging biological hazards. The delay in imposing risk mitigation measures is crucial and can make the difference between a local outbreak with few cases to a pandemic with countless sick and deceased citizens, as severely demonstrated by the recent outbreak of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). To-date, significant number of parts for medical applications are made with injection moulding due to its low-cost, mass production capability, which could meet high demands during the urgent events such as COVID-19.


The strategic goal of imPURE is repurposing and digitally transforming plastic processing industrial lines in Europe, focused on the injection moulding initially, for the production of critical medical consumables (CRMs) with unprecedentedly reduced turnaround time (e.g. from 3 weeks to 48 hours). imPURE strategy is centred on repurposing of the existing injection moulding lines in industrial participant sites, through rapidly making modular moulds with interchangeable inserts, typically enabled by fast Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology. The proposed flexible production route will also be supported by industrially viable, cutting-edge digital technologies and automation solutions.

The strategic goal will be realised through the following objectives:

Scope of the project


imPURE will work on the repurposing of well-established pilot/industrial injection moulding lines, by adapting modular moulds that will be manufactured by metal AM. Optimisation of all systems will take place through modelling and simulations, in order to ensure the maximum productivity. From the modified injection moulding systems, medical equipment will be manufactured (half-face masks, oximeters, ventilators).
Proposition of an agile and flexible methodology for fast adaptation of existing mass production lines to transitory events, with outstanding rapidity. This methodology is centered on AM approach to produce adaptation parts for fast mould repurposing for medical consumables and devices mass production.


AM for the preparation of moulds will offer flexibility in traditional supply chain networks, which contain complicated and -hard to manageprocedures. With 3D printing technology, a design file can transform directly to a product, skipping many traditional manufacturing steps. Thus, this new application will affect all logistics and supply chain activities positively during a crisis, minimising the risks. The Supply Chain Collaboration platform that will be employed within the project will guarantee the 100% involvement of suppliers.


Digital twins of the injection moulding process allow much faster process set-up, as the starting point is an already pre-optimized set of process conditions and the experimental finetuning of the process parameters is guided by results of instantaneous virtual trials, reducing material waste, energy consumed, machine and operator non-productive hours during this set-up process. Also, subsequent process readjustments necessary to adapt production to intrinsic variability can be guided by the digital twin.


Digital twins can be used as a tool to train machine operators for a better process understanding, allowing virtual trial and error as a complementary technique to the knowledge based theoretical aspects.