The trend towards miniaturisation is spreading through all areas. Technical devices for private users such as mobile phones, MP3 players and other entertainment devices are subject to this trend, as are devices for mechanical engineering and industry or medical equipment and components.
In many areas, not only is the size of the devices shrinking, but the complexity of the technology is also increasing as more and more performance and functions are integrated into the devices. Microcomponents are now used in a wide range of applications. From the aforementioned technical gadgets to applications in the fields of aviation, automotive, electronics, ICT, biomedicine and optics.
In order to cover the constantly increasing demand for the production of miniature parts and components while keeping production costs low, micro-components are often manufactured by means of mould making processes. The increasing demands of new materials, milling tasks for tools with a diameter of 0.1 mm or less and the surface qualities to be achieved present manufacturers with challenges, but precisely this inherent complexity of micro-components also offers new possibilities. While the production of less complex, larger moulds is now often under price pressure and orders are increasingly migrating to countries with low wage structures, producers from Europe can maintain and improve their market position and role as technological pioneers with machining micro-manufacturing and high-quality micro-moulds.
The entire production process must be considered in an integrated manner. Pure downscaling is not possible. The factors CAD/CAM, milling strategy, machine, machining environment, material, clamping devices, machining parameters and the tool must be considered in interaction. If the integration of the process components is the case, micro-machining represents a flexible and efficient method with a high degree of geometric freedom for machining almost all common materials.
In addition to the machining tasks in mould making, there are many other applications for micromachining processes in other areas.
Milling tools for steel strip cuts used in the packaging industry, sealing industry or plastics industry are used in ever smaller diameters. In the production of high-quality spectacle frames and lenses or high-quality writing instruments, watches and jewellery as well as nozzles and injection systems, ever smaller tools with increasingly complex geometries are also required. The same applies to the production of micro valves, micro actuators and micro sensors, micro optics, embossing dies and printing plates.
In electronics, printed circuit boards are produced quickly and cost-effectively as prototypes or in smaller quantities with micro milling cutters by means of so-called mechanical contour milling or cutting channel milling. Another broad field of applications is medical technology. For example, the manufacture of medical devices and implants. In today's dental prosthetics, prostheses are often milled directly with micro milling cutters on CNC machines.
The demands placed on the tools and their variety have increased significantly as a result of the broader areas of application for micro-machining. Therefore, in addition to the manufacturers of CNC machines, clamping and measuring equipment, the manufacturers of precision tools have also significantly improved the possibilities for micromachining by constantly expanding existing products and developing new ones, and are now supporting manufacturers in the production of a wide variety of micro workpieces and contours with a good availability of miniature tools with diverse geometries and cantilever lengths.
With its wide range of miniature tools, which are summarised under the term "Multi-Form Micro-Tools", the company offers a solution from the standard range for almost all applications in micro cutting. In addition to milling and drilling, the company also covers micro-grinding, thread production and deburring.
In the field of universal milling alone, there are 7 basic geometries with over 50 variants. In addition, a range of milling cutters has been developed especially for applications in mould making in order to take account of the trend towards ever smaller, more complex moulds and harder materials.
The Drilling division supplements the tool range with micro drills and micro reamers, for example for nozzle production.
The range is rounded off by MULTI-V, Combi-Mag, ¼ circular concave milling cutters and Bi-Face multifunction deburring tools, which, in addition to milling and drilling, cover the machining fields of deburring, tapping, countersinking and centering.
Thus, a high-quality micro tool is available for all applications in micro cutting.
"When the first larger series of micro milling cutters with a diameter of 0.3 mm were produced in 1993, the areas of application were mostly research and there was only a limited selection of geometries. To this day, however, the range of applications for microtools has expanded significantly. We have taken these trends into account by developing an ever wider range of innovative microtools".
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