Engineers at Brunel University are striving to towards a zero-defect strategy for micro manufacturing processes.
The three-year MIDEMMA project will achieve this though the development of new technologies and decision-making models.
Project lead Dr Atanas Ivanov said existing efforts to minimise defects in manufacturing, such as Six Sigma and ISO standards, were not applicable to micro manufacturing processes.
‘Laser machining, EDM machining — all these new fancy technologies used for micro- and nano-technologies are like a black box. We’re trying to model them but we don’t know what the transformation function is,’ Ivanov told The Engineer.
Solutions to this fall into two broad categories, Ivanov explained: changing the input by observing the output (active control); and experimenting with transformation function (adaptive control).
‘We’re talking about very small products, such as hearing aids, where the plastic parts are less than 1mm in size,’ Ivanov said.