Microfabrication and Micromaching
Small Business Information
1603 Greenmount St., Rockford, IL, 61107
Thomas J. Lindem
AbstractDuring Phase 1 Atometric developed and demonstrated principles of a four-axis micro machine. This machine is capable of machining metal parts that are sized within 50mm cube to an accuracy within one micron. Our goal is to develop a micro machine that is applicable to a broad commercial market. Three additional features need to be added to make the machine fully commercially viable. These three features are: an automatic tool sensor; an automatic tool changer; and, automatic part programming utilizing data from computer aided design programs. The proposed Phase 2 research focuses on developing those three features. Our proposed research will also focus on developing a micro machine that is to be operated in an office or laboratory environment, away from the usual manufacturing factory settings. When this capacity is fully developed a significant reduction in initial investment, energy usage, shipping costs and delay times will occur, with corresponding benefits throughout this now untapped market. COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS: The present technology for making micro sized parts uses large and costly machines. Typically these machines are Swiss-made turning centers that cost between $300,000 and $600,000 each. The technology developed by Atometric during the proposed Phase 2 research will enable micro sized parts to be manufactured at a greatly reduced cost. The parts will be made at the point where they are needed, not at a remote factory location. The capital investment required to support the manufacturing process will be reduced by a factor of four. The energy required will be reduced by, at a minimum, a factor of ten. The procurement time required to actually acquire the micro part will be reduced by eliminating the need to work through distant factories. Therefore, the commercial application for the Atometric micro machine is wherever micro sized parts are now made and/or utilized. This market is now large and is expanding.
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