SBIR Phase II: Micro Laser Assisted Machining
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
Micro Laser Assisted Machining Technologies, LLC
4950 West Dickman Road, Suite B-5, Battle Creek, MI, 49037-5600
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project enables an innovative high-productivity approach to manufacturing hard and brittle materials like ceramics, semiconductors, and glass. The objective of this proposal is to build on the successful Phase I feasibility study to demonstrate an efficient and productive method that could manufacture ceramic and semiconductors with excellent part quality. The process, termed Micro-Laser Assisted Machining (micro-LAM), allows a cheaper (~40-60%), faster (by two to five times), and better method of machining and manufacturing hard and brittle materials by combining the preferential heat from a laser source and extreme pressure from a diamond tool. The status quo technology for manufacturing these materials requires extensive machining hours to obtain good part quality, which is not economical. The demand for high-end ceramics and semiconductors is continuously increasing; however, high production costs have forced manufacturers to use other materials with inferior properties. The goal of this effort is to address this unmet need by commercializing the micro-LAM technology by the end of Phase II. A minimum viable product will be tested at industrial partner sites to obtain firsthand customer feedback, which is key to accelerating the commercialization process. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be felt in semiconductor (microelectronics) manufacturing, optics (mirrors and windows), and precision mechanical products (bearing and seals), where the superior properties of advanced semiconductor and engineered ceramic materials are required to achieve performance criteria. This technology will enable entirely new capabilities for production of materials and products currently not viable or achievable due to processing limitations. The micro-LAM technology also has potential applications for emerging technologies, such as wind turbines and plug-in electric vehicles, where high-power and high-temperature operation of advanced devices is required. The current target market size, including optics, semiconductor, advanced ceramics and glass parts manufacturing, is approximately $250 million, with a 15%/year growth rate. Once market acceptance is established in the target market segment, the micro-LAM tooling will be launched into the larger diamond turning machine (DTM) market, with a total size of $2.4 billion. There are approximately 10,000 DTMs in the United States alone (with ~ 500 new tools introduced per year).
* information listed above is at the time of submission.