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LAUNCH-MICRO Informe resumido

Project ID: 11795
Financiado con arreglo a: FP6-NMP
País: Spain

Final Report Summary - LAUNCH-MICRO (Microtechnologies for re-launching European machine manufacturing SMEs)

The LAUNCH-MICRO project aimed to accomplish the following objectives:
1. provide European machine tool Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with the necessary technical knowledge and related methodologies for the construction of ultra-precision manufacturing equipment;
2. provide European manufacturing SMEs with leading edge knowledge;
3. convert the sector in a growing and dynamic scientific field;
4. exploit the existing know-how and research capabilities of European machine manufacturing SMEs in order to establish an efficient and collaborative structure for training SMEs' personnel in different and complementary technological issues and disseminate knowledge and best practices along interested SMEs.

The project was structured in six distinct, yet interrelated, Work packages (WPs), whose activities and research areas included:
1. analysis of the micro technology scenario regarding small and medium enterprises (SMEs);
2. equipment for micro manufacturing;
3. processes for micro manufacturing;
4. demonstrators and pilot applications;
5. dissemination and training of micro technologies;
6. management and governance.

The involved SMEs represented the end users' point of view, highlighting their actual constraints and requirements, particularly in mould making. Micro-component requirements like tolerances, surface quality, materials, dimensional and geometrical accuracy as well as component roughness requirements were analysed. Moreover, the capabilities and characteristics of machine tools and micro replication technologies were examined, along with the technological limits of micro moulding technologies, assembling requirements and fixturing systems. Quality control methods were also assessed.

Different possibilities and technologies to be applied to launch micro demonstrators were explored and several machine components were analysed and simulated. The investigated processes for micro manufacturing included milling, laser and Electrical discharge machining (EDM). Various systems for process and tool monitoring and control were evaluated. An attempt to achieve comprehensive dimensional and geometrical qualification of work pieces by means of machine integrated sensors was also undertaken, but proved to be very complex and quite expensive because of the harsh conditions in the machining space and the manufacturing area.

In addition, validation and acceptance procedures for the demonstrator machines, with the potential to become standards in the European micro-machine tool scenario were developed. Appropriate guidelines and recommendations for assembly were formulated and procedures and methodologies for the verification of essential machine components were developed. Moreover, innovative tools were designed and simulated. All undertaken efforts were subsequently integrated and resulted in the development of a high precision milling machine to a prototype scale, as well as to the demonstration of a machine for laser processing of three-dimensional work pieces. Similarly, micro sinking EDM and micro wire EDM demonstrator machines were designed.

Finally, an electronic training tool, which was hosted by the project internet platform, was created and publicly launched. This website had both a private and a public domain to provide support and information on LAUNCH-MICRO activities and results. This platform was very appropriate to raise awareness about micro-technologies among the European SMEs by offering them the consortium expertise and a reference institutions' contact point to get into this new knowledge-based business. Consequently, the project partners had a great opportunity to advertise themselves and feel the society's interest on the topic.

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