Title: Rugged micromechanical systems: revolutionary opportunities for product designers

Authors: John Rasmussen, William Bonivert, John Krafcik

Addresses: Axsun Technologies, Inc., 6132 Highwood Park Lane, Naples, FL 34110, USA. ' Axsun Technologies, Inc., 7693 Longard Road, Livermore, CA 94550, USA. ' Axsun Technologies, Inc., 7693 Longard Road, Livermore, CA 94550, USA

Abstract: Recent breakthroughs in parts fabrication, and automated inspection and assembly of microsystems from precise metal, ceramic and plastic parts are enabling designers to significantly reduce the size, cost and weight of mechanical devices without reducing their reliability. MEMS-scale metal microcomponents including springs, gears and latches are readily fabricated by means of LIGA-based processes at affordable cost with consistent, predictable material properties and precise features. At one company alone, as many as 10,000 parts per month are being fabricated using these proven manufacturing processes. Revolutionary processes are making full 3D parts possible. Recent breakthroughs have resulted in a two-order-of-magnitude drop in cost. High-speed automated assembly and inspection have further reduced the cost and improved the practicality. These new capabilities are solving problems for designers of microoptical devices, smart munitions, wristwatches, microcircuit probe cards and many others with devices that withstand a wide range of temperatures, pressures, vibration and forces to over 70,000 Gs.

Keywords: LIGA; micromechanical sytems; microoptical devices; micromachining; fuzes; metal MEMS; micro assembly; micro parts; microelectromechanical systems; springs; gears; latches; smart munitions; watches; microcircuit probe cards; product design; commercialisation; rugged systems.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTTC.2008.021031

International Journal of Technology Transfer and Commercialisation, 2008 Vol.7 No.4, pp.328 - 334

Published online: 31 Oct 2008 *

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