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JUL/AUG 2013  

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Micromachines/ Micromachining

Top Features

Dr. Eric W. Forsythe, staff physicist for the Army Research Laboratory, Adelphi, Md., agreed to discuss the development of flexible electronics and flexible displays with MICROmanufacturing. Forsythe is the team leader for display technologies and is an associate program manager for the Army’s Flexible Display Center. One of the Army’s goals is to develop electronics for use in advanced communications devices with flexible displays. One of the main challenges is to increase the performance levels of flexible electronics to more closely match those of traditional printed circuit boards.

If there is a common theme echoed by manufacturers of microscale coils, forms and springs—all produced using microwire—it is that customers want more from less. That is, less in terms of size, not capability.

In an era when society is looking for true role models, Dr. Karen Lozano, whose picture is on the cover, would be a great place to start. She’s the inventor of the Forcespinning process, the subject of our July/August cover story.

By using force in the same way as a cotton-candy-making machine, a small U.S. firm has become a force in the world of nanoscale fiber fabrication.

If you have a few million tiny holes to drill, you could order up a tractor-trailer’s worth of circuit board drills and get to work. You might be done by Christmas. Or you could find one of a handful of shops that owns an electron beam driller and get those holes drilled before lunchtime.

When shopping for a micromilling machine, one of the first things you’ll need to consider is spindle speed—how fast is fast enough? The answer depends on a number of factors, including cutter diameter, workpiece material, required feed rate and the money in your bank account.

Top Videos

Often, micromanufacturers think first and foremost about machining microparts, but a simpler way for many parts is to simply bend them into the needed shape.

D.R. Templeman, Plainville, Conn., says its can manufacture springs with virtually any spring material, and make wire forms from virtually any metal. The company says it is well equipped to work with wire sizes ranging from 0.004" [0.1mm] to 0.080" [2.0mm].

Custom Wire Technologies, Port Washington, Wis., is a contract manufacturer of precision medical wire parts that are custom manufactured from fine wire or ultra fine wires.

Cool Clean Technologies, which manufactures CO2 precision cleaning systems, demonstrates its CleanFlex automated SmartSpray system in the video below. The programmable system reportedly cleans down to 0.3µm and can fit in any manufacturing process. It is programmable for selective cleaning and uses environmentally friendly CO2.

Cyborg CockroachIf only exterminators could control cockroaches with the same precision demonstrated by North Carolina State University researchers who steer a Madagascar Hissing cockroach along an S-shaped line in the video below.

Top Products

Norman Noble Inc.

Norman NobleMedical Device OEM’s that have applied Highland Heights, Ohio-based Norman Noble Inc.’s Design for Manufacturability services have realized substantial benefits, the company says. Costs and time-to-market are often cut in half with significant improvements in quality and delivery. These services are most effective when applied to projects that involve tight tolerances and exotic materials, including NiTinol.

PI (Physik Instrumente) L.P.

H-820PI (Physik Instrumente) added a lower-cost hexapod to its large family of parallel positioning devices.  Hexapods produce motion in all 6 degrees of freedom—in the X-axis, Y-axis and Z-axis as well as pitch, yaw and roll.  With a freely programmable center of rotation these devices are virtually as versatile as the human hand.

Shannon MicroCoil

Shannon Microcoil, Limerick, Ireland, uses both round and flat wire in sizes from 0.001” (25 micron) upwards in round and flat wire. Common materials include, stainless steels such as 302, 304 and 316, Precious Metal Alloys such as PtW, PtIr, Pd, and coated materials such as gold coated steels and PTFE coated steels.

FineLine Prototyping Inc.

Fineline PrototypingFineLine Prototyping provides rapid prototyping services to the medical device industry. Specializing in high-accuracy, highresolution parts, the company operates 18 Viper HR stereolithography machines and offers high-resolution metal prototypes, microresolution parts, selective laser sintering and custom finishing.


Traub TNL 18The TRAUB TNL18 sliding- and fixed-headstock automatic lathe from INDEX Corp. has seven linear axes and an additional B-axis on the eight-position upper tool turret. With the additional B-axis, which can pivot 100°, complex parts and complicated contour elements that require additional operations, such as milling, drilling and threading, can be machined at any angular position.