MM Live is a global showcase for everything to do with the mass manufacture of small to micro precision parts, whether a company can make them to order or supply the machinery to mill, cut or mould.
Image: The Kern Nano now sports jig-grinding capability
The exclusive focus on micro manufacturing technologies and techniques provides all industry sectors the opportunity to investigate existing and emerging technologies in this field. Exhibits cover the full spectrum of micro manufacturing techniques – from laser cutting, welding, plus micro machining, injection moulding, inspection and measurement, photo etching, handling and assembly.
Alongside the main exhibition is the Micro Manufacturing Technology Forum, which covers all of the key technologies employed in making and verifying precision micro components.
A full exhibitor list can be found in the box below, but they include companies such as Rainford Precision (01744 889726) whose managing director, Arthur Turner, is also speaking at the linked conference. Rainford Precision is the UK agent for German machine tool manufacturer Kern, a specialist in high precision equipment. At the show, the emphasis will be on Kern's Pyramid Nano machine in its latest guise, that of co-ordinate jig grinder. This new development makes it possible for end users to conduct high speed milling and jig grinding in one clamping set-up.
The machine supports defined movements of 0.1 µm and the production of surface finishes of less than 0.05 µm Ra (i.e. 50 nm). Target users are mould manufacturers and manufacturers of deep draw, stamping, embossing and coining tools, all able to benefit from the system. The new package for the Pyramid Nano is also suited for high accuracy machining applications involving hard and brittle materials, such as ceramics, glass, sinter materials, silica and corundum.
From technology provider to technology users and service provider, and the claimed largest independent manufacturing operation of its kind in Europe, Precision Micro will be underlining its wares. It specialises in the manufacture of precision flat profile and three dimensional components for automotive, communications, aerospace, electronics, medical, military and other 'high tech' engineering applications.
Precision Micro (0121 380 0100) offers a unique range of manufacturing technologies, including photo etching, wire EDM, electroforming, forming, finishing and micro machining, used individually, but also in combination.
Another micro-machining sub-contractor is Laser Micromachining (01745 535165). It supplies high quality laser manufacturing services to companies in the micro, nano and precision engineering sectors. Its managing director, Nadeem Rizvi, is a speaker at the conference, too. His presentation is titled, 'Shortening Time-to-Market for New Generations of Microproducts'.
Image: Some of Precision Micro's wares
Moving from making parts to measuring parts and Vision Engineering will be showing how to measure micro-manufactured parts. A British company with over 50 years' experience in designing and manufacturing ergonomic stereo inspection microscopes and non-contact optical and video measuring solutions, the company will be showcasing its new Falcon 3-axis, non-contact video measuring system. This has a small footprint, for shopfloor versatility, and an indexed camera iris control to reduce depth of field.
In addition to the Falcon, Vision Engineering (01483 248300) will be demonstrating a full range of metrology systems from simple profile measurement – the Kestrel 2-axis optical measurement system to the Hawk 3-axis system having both optical and video capabilities. Stereo inspection options will also be featured.
With a variety of accessories, from digital cameras for cataloguing and reporting; oblique and direct viewer for modifications; episcopic illuminator for inspecting complex features such as blind holes, the stereo range is designed to meet most inspection needs, says the company.
Exhibitor list – MM Live
Alicona UK Ltd
DME (Danish Micro Engineering)
ECM Technologies BV (Electrochemical Machining)
EPPM & BPR
Form Mould & Tooling
Heidelberg Instruments Mikrotechnik
IBS Precision Engineering
Insoll Components Ltd
Kern Micro und Feinwerktechnik GmbH & Co. KG
Kistler Instruments Ltd.
Laser Micro Machining
Metrology Direct Ltd
Micro Metalsmiths Ltd
Micro Systems (UK) Ltd
Optimax Imaging, Inspection & Measurement Ltd
Rainford Precision Machines Ltd
WLR Prototype Engineers Limited
Over the two days, there's a full conference programme. Opening the conference will be chairman Professor Duc Pham of The Manufacturing Engineering Centre, Cardiff University. Founded in 1996, under the directorship of Professor Pham OBE, FREng, FSME, BE, PhD, DEng, CEng, FIET, FIMechE, the 90-strong MEC conducts world-class research and development in all major areas of advanced manufacturing, and uses the output to promote the introduction of new manufacturing technology and practice to industry. Micro-manufacturing is just one of those areas.
Following him, the keynote address is delivered by Switzerland's Dr Alex Domman, vice-president, program manager for MEMS (micro electrical mechanical systems) who will talk about the country's activities.
Thereafter, the following presentations are listed for the first day: Only Limited by the Cutting Tools Available, Arthur Turner, managing director, Rainford Precision; Micro-EDM – Technology Advancements, Jonathon Montgomery, SmalTec International; Laser Manufacturing: Shortening Time-to-Market for New Generations of Microproducts, Nadeem Rizvi, managing director, Laser Micro Machining; Laser Processing, An Enabling Technology for Device Manufacture, Gideon Foster-Turner, OpTek; The Possibilities and Impossibilities of Metal Machining by Pulsed Electrochemical Machining, Hans-Henk Wolter, managing director, ECM Technologies BV; 3-D Metal Micro Manufacturing Technology for Miniature Devices, Ira Feldman, VP new business development, Microfabrica; Microjoining Methods and Applications, Andy Whitaker, consultant and technology manager, Microtechnology, TWI; European Economic Survey on Micro and Nano Companies, Katrin Theiler, sales manager, IVAM.
On the second day, there's a moulding and metrology emphasis, with the day opening with a key note address from Philipp Imgrund, department head, Fraunhofer Institut, Biomaterials Technology, IFAM, who will be talking about novel application fields for micro injection moulding technology.
Presentations on the moulding theme follow, including a presentation titled 'Ultra Precision Tooling & Micro Moulding', delivered by Paul Glendenning, Micro Systems (UK).
The metrology section of proceedings is kicked off by the UK's CEMMNT, under the title 'Metrology in Micro Manufacturing Workshop', and chaired by the organisation's Paul Newbatt. CEMMNT describes itself as providing "world-leading measurement, characterisation and analytical services across multiple industry sectors, enabling companies to innovate in design, optimise product quality and performance, reduce costs and maximise competitive advantage". Other speakers in this metrology workshop are: Prof. Richard Leach, NPL; David Barrow, MetaFAB; Mike Conroy, Ametek Taylor Hobson; and Brian Kyte, Alicona UK.
First published in Machinery September 2009