Miniaturization is the order of the day. Until recently a decade ago traditionally watch parts were considered to be the micro components one can think off. Recent changes in society’s demand have forced us to manufacture variety of micro components used in different fields starting from entertainment electronics to be bio medical implants. Present day manufacturing processes used for miniaturization are the micro electronic fabrication techniques used for Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS). The limitation of all these processes is that they are applicable for producing 2D patterns and thickness of parts is very low; say a few microns and they are employed on materials such as Silicon and crystalline materials and not metals. Miniaturized parts may have overall sizes of a few millimeters but may have many features that fall in micron range. Also we need many such miniaturized parts may be with 3D profiles, that too made of metals in many fields like aerospace to bio-medical applications. A new candidate requiring micro products is the filed of biotechnology. In the medical field, diagnosis and surgery without pain are achieved through miniaturization of medical tools. Micromachining is one of the key technologies that can enable the realization of all of the above requirements for microproducts and fields with such requirements are rapidly expanding. If complementary machining processes are developed to overcome the above shortcomings, metallic miniature devices will be economically feasible reality.
What Is MicroMachining Technology ?
Micromachining is the basic technology for fabrication of micro-components of size in the range of 1 to 500 micrometers. Their need arises from miniaturization of various devices in science and engineering, calling for ultra-precision manufacturing and micro-fabrication.
Micromachining is used for fabricating micro-channels and micro-grooves (see Fig.) in micro-fluidics applications, micro-filters, drug delivery systems, micro-needles, and micro-probes in biotechnology applications. Micro-machined components are crucial for practical advancement in Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), Micro-electronics (semiconductor devices and integrated circuit technology) and Nanotechnology.
|micro-channels and micro-grooves|
Micromachining has evolved greatly in the past few decades, to include various techniques, broadly classified into mask-based and tool-based, as depicted in the diagram below.
|Micro Machining Types|
Application of micromachining
• Micro milling
• Micro grinding
• Chemical etching
• Micro punching
• Manufacturing of injection nozzles, Micro surgical tools, VLSI circuits
Micromilling & MicroGrinding
Micromilling & Microdrilling is capable of the fabricating holes several tens of micrometers in size for practical applications other types of products such as grooves, cavities and 3D convex shapes may be fabricated when a micro end mill is used instead of a micromill. In such cases, the machining force exerts a larger influence on accuracy because the main direction of the force is perpendicular to the tool axis.