From U.S.-based manufacturers looking to reshore production due to rising labor costs in Asia, growing demands for quality, the challenges of emerging materials, and the limitations of conventional manufacturing technologies, manufacturers around the world are harnessing new manufacturing technologies in their quest to stay competitive. Twenty-first century manufacturing solutions like Microlution’s advanced micromachining technologies bring together high-tech software, mechanical engineering, automation, and 3D computer-aided design (CAD) models to drive the highly precise, efficient, and productive manufacture of products across a wide range of industries.
Emerging manufacturing challenges
In precision manufacturing, materials are evolving, with brittle materials, ultra-hard metals, polymers, and other complex and challenging materials taking on greater prominence. It is likely that the role of these materials will continue to grow along with advances toward next-generation products.
At the same time, new product designs for everything from fuel injector nozzles to medical devices are becoming smaller and more complex, with increasingly intricate features aimed at enabling greater performance. Femtosecond Laser drilling of microholes for fuel injector nozzles is just one such example: These small, high-precision features have the potential to further optimize injectors’ spray performance and are impossible to achieve with traditional machining methods. As another example: Microfluidic channels for biotech products and research must be machined to dimensions that allow for the separation of molecules into various channels. And in medical device manufacturing, coronary stents made of both polymer and hard metals must be machined to ensure structural integrity with struts less than 100 microns wide.
Fast, clean, precise—and at a lower cost
Microlution’s advanced micromachining platforms herald the arrival of a new generation of machining technology to answer manufacturers’ need for precision. It makes new products possible, empowering manufacturers to achieve the higher quality that end users demand—faster, cleaner, more precisely and, ultimately, at a lower cost than with conventional technologies. Microlution’s solutions are already embraced by manufacturers at the forefront of developing the next-generation production processes to more efficiently produce new products.
Faster, cleaner and more precise than their predecessors, Microlution solutions lead to higher yields through more accurate, repeatable machining. Their ultrafast Lasers remove material at the micron level, create finished parts in a single step with no melting, burring or recast layer and without chemical post-processing, enabling manufacturers to produce better products at a lower cost per part and, at the same time, gain a competitive advantage.
Microlution’s latest-generation Laser solutions with g-force acceleration and unprecedented stability also represent a new generation of manufacturing equipment that makes smaller parts better and faster. As a highlight, Microlution’s MLDS multi-station femtosecond micromachining center offers high-speed spindles as one of the many machine configurations. In parallel, Microlution’s integrated sensor technology enables more efficient production. Glass scales provide real-time positional feedback, High-precision measurement systems—optical, tactile and Laser-based—measure accuracy in situ, and self-correcting software further improves yields while reducing cost per part.
These precision-advancing benefits in combination with manufacturing automation establish the foundation for efficient micro factories capable of 24/7 parts machining at unprecedented accuracy and repeatability. By enabling manufacturers to do what their competitors cannot, Microlution solutions deliver significant added value. Microlution technologies help manufacturers achieve new levels of precision to quickly and efficiently get new, valuable products to market. Moreover, they open the doors to new industrial designs that cannot be realized with conventional technologies—a compelling competitive advantage to manufacturers in multiple sectors.
Microlution has pioneered a complete line of Laser micromachining platforms optimized for high-precision fabrication of small parts. All platforms utilize all of the key features of a precision platform. Laser solutions include the Microlution ML-5 ultrafast Laser platform as well as the Microlution MLDS dual-station Laser machining center which can also be configured as a hybrid platform with two Spindles for Milling operations.
Microlution ML-5: high accuracy, repeatability and quality
Manufacturers using the Microlution ML-5 report achieving high accuracy, repeatability and quality due to the solution’s construction. Its precision-ground granite base with directly mounted motion stages ensures a high degree of thermal and inertial stability, low moving mass-to-stationary-mass ratio, a flatter surface and better perpendicularity.
Moreover, the Microlution ML-5 offers superb positional feedback and accuracy as well as submicron repeatability due to its super-precision linear scale with 1-micron positional accuracy and 10 nm resolution. Its high-precision beam delivery sets the stage for highest accuracy and is ideal for high-precision Laser drilling, cutting and micromachining applications. With the Microlution ML-5, manufacturers can machine straight sidewalls through special 5-D scanner programming and adjustment of attack angles of the beam which force the beam from its normal hourglass shape to a more effective cylindrical shape. The result: precision results with perpendicular walls and edges. The machine’s weight delivers stiffness, stability and rigidity, and its small footprint-to-travel-size ratio adds even more value.
Hall 7, stand 7C31, at AMB 2018, September 18–22 in Stuttgart, Germany, is the place to discover how Microlution is shaping the future of micromachining.