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LAUNCH-MICRO — Result In Brief

Project ID: 11795
Funded under: FP6-NMP
Country: Spain

Microtechnology and new machines

By arming European industry with the tools to develop high precision machines and associated high demand products, the EU can set itself apart in the global economy and improve its competitiveness.
Microtechnology and new machines
As machines become smaller and more sophisticated, European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) require support in enhancing their competitiveness through more precise machining equipment. The EU-funded project 'Microtechnologies for re-launching European machine manufacturing SMEs' (Launch-MICRO) provided SMEs with technical know-how to build ultra-precision manufacturing equipment.

The project analysed the microtechnology environment relevant to SMEs, investigating the equipment and processes involved in micro-manufacturing. It conducted tests and models to further its goals and offered training on microtechnologies to implicated SMEs.

To ensure that business needs were met, the project worked with SMEs to articulate challenges in mould making, surface quality, component roughness, tolerances, materials and geometrical accuracy. It analysed capabilities and quality control needs involved in machine tools and micro-replication. This also involved demonstrations on micro-manufacturing such as laser machining, milling and electrical discharge machining (EDM).

Moreover, the project tested and developed procedures which could become the accepted standard in the micro-machining industry. It wrote appropriate guidelines for assembling micro-machining equipment and outlined the components needed. Most importantly, with all the knowledge gathered the project team designed several machine prototypes for high precision milling, 3D laser processing, micro-sinking EDM and micro-wire EDM.

These developments were coupled with training to operate the machines and a project website to raise awareness about microtechnologies among European SMEs. The significant progress in the field is set to empower European industry to become more competitive and specialise in high precision equipment, differentiating its capabilities from the rest of the world.

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