With the technology becoming more readily available and the demand for small and intricate parts increasing, micromachining is increasingly becoming an important precision engineering technique. But what is micromachining? And what are the benefits and applications of micromachining for precision engineering businesses? Here we look at the development of micromachining and how it can benefit you.
What is Micromachining?
Micromachining, also known as microfabrication, is the process of precision machining very small parts with tools or lasers. Micromachining creates very small and intricate parts that are required for certain applications, particularly in the microelectronic and medical industries.
History of Micromachining
Precision micromachining has been around since the late 1990s, in response to the increasing demand for smaller and more intricate parts from the semiconductor and medical industries. To meet this demand, engineers began developing techniques to machine smaller parts with smaller tools.
At first finding the right machinery and tools to deliver the desired results was a problem. And lasers, at that time, were unable to create the clean, precise edges that today’s lasers are able to produce.
Upgrading to higher speed spindles and machines that are capable of producing smaller parts was essential, and nowadays precision engineers not only use higher RPM machines to apply their own micromilling capabilities, they also use Swiss-type lathes with live tooling and high-speed air spindles. Swiss-type lathes can be used to create prototypes and produce small batches of turned parts that still require some milling.
Benefits of Micromachining
The main benefit of Micromachining using specialized techniques and tools is that it allows the reliably repeatable as efficient production of small and intricate parts that have tight tolerances. Micromachining offers a method for single process machining for smaller parts, so milling and turning can be done on the same machine. This reduces lead time and allows parts to be machined more efficiently.
Micromachining is ideal for machining prototypes and parts with micro features in both plastics and metals, and has a variety of applications. Implementing Micromachining in your precision engineering practice provides the opportunity to take on a greater range of scope of bids and make more diverse and specialized parts. Even larger parts can be machined with greater accuracy and speed on machines used for micromachining. With the demand for smaller and more intricate micromachined parts increasing as more industries require these parts, Micromachining will become a more Important and significant aspect of a precision engineering company’s work.