Microscale additive manufacturing is one of the fastest growing areas of research within the additive manufacturing community. However, there are still significant challenges that exist in terms of available materials, resolution, throughput, and ability to fabricate true three-dimensional geometries. These challenges render commercialization of currently available microscale additive manufacturing processes difficult.
When it comes to semiconductor fabrication equipment, such as lithography machines, the hunger for precision does not stop. Greater precision is needed for smaller structures. For example, in integrated circuit production typical layer to layer accuracy (overlay) during fabrication is now at 1.5 nanometres (approximately 1/50,000 of the width of a hair). And the mirrors integrated in the latest generation of lithography machines require form accuracy one hundred times smaller again.
As the targeted precision increases, so too does the skill required to control potential disturbances within the machine. Unwanted temperature gradients, for example, or unintended vibrations at extremely low levels, can have significant impacts on performance and must be managed. As each functional part of a machine becomes more complex, the measurement strategy needed to achieve precision also becomes more challenging. This strategy must take into consideration each of the parts and their interrelationships.
Complex workpieces such as turbine blades, impellors and medical protheses, are typically manufactured on 5-axis machine tools. For machine tool builders and users, it is imperative to reduce geometrical, surface or form errors to a minimum. Machine qualification prevents errors before they occur. Qualification tools must be fast enough to integrate into the production schedule and intelligent enough to measure the full dynamic behaviour of the machine. The latest generation of measurement systems in the field can measure the full accuracy of a machine tool in under a minute. Such tools enable predictive maintenance, which extends the uptime and lifetime of the machine.
In the field of precision engineering, the challenges never stop. Luckily nor does the ingenuity of the engineers who love to meet these challenges!
We present to you, “Top 10 Precision Manufacturing Services Companies - 2022.”