Micro-FAST - miniature production in large quantities

MicroFAST gearwheel

The purpose of Micro-FAST is to develop a new commercial production system to achieve a high production volume of miniature and micro components.

The system is being developed to be able to manufacture components of numerous materials such as metallurgical alloys, composites, ceramics and polymers, with special focus on materials that are difficult to cut or form. The production system will be utilizing the two newly developed technologies: electric powder compaction and electric sintering (FAST) to achieve shorter lead time, lower costs and very high material quality.

In this project IPU is responsible for developing the press and the tools for electric powder compaction and electric sintering. In micro and nano production conventional manufacturing processes cannot merely be scaled as problems occur concerning friction and precision among other things. The primary challenge is to overcome challenges concerning precision and heating during sintering.

In a short time the powder must be fed, compacted and sintered, and subsequently cooled down. Then, the mould is cleaned of any residue on surfaces and edges, and the sintered workpiece is trimmed. This is done by a quality inspection system and a laser. All of this is developed and built into the same machine. Furthermore, modelling models for analysis of microstructures, materials and interactions with the manufacturing process are developed, together with suitable powder materials for the process.

A total of 17 companies and universities from 10 different European countries cooperate in this project. Micro-FAST is supported by the 7th Framework Programme of the EU and will proceed over the next four years.


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