Currently, there is a growing trend in the production of micro-metal parts that can be used for medical, and aerospace applications, among other possibilities. This article explores key details about a process that makes it possible.
3-D printing of end-user parts has become far more common in recent years. There are countless applications that require metal rather than 3-D printed polymers. This is the case where a higher level of strength, or durability is necessary.
As well as this, end-users require these parts to be miniaturized to explore new possibilities regarding both size and precision. MICA Freeform is one of the production technologies that is making this a real possibility.
What Is MICA Freeform?
MICA Freeform is a process that is used for the production of millimeter-scale metal parts that have micron-level features. These products can be produced on mass and the process can also be used to create functional mechanisms that include countless moving parts. With this form of microfabrication, there is also no assembly necessary.
There are countless benefits of MICA Freeform. For instance, the products created can have incredibly intricate features as well as highly smooth surfaces. The micro-products are also well-defined, with near-vertical walls, and sharp edges.
It’s also worth noting that this technology can be used to provide key advantages in the creation of numerous technologies including anti-counterfeiting products.
For instance, using this tech, it is possible to ensure that products can be authenticated at a low cost by checking details that are included on items underneath a microscope. Additional levels of security may also be included through the use of serial numbers or barcodes.
What Does It Take to Fabricate the Right Equipment?
MICA Freeform processes are completed within a clean room and there are three steps for the production of each layer that is produced. The additive manufacturing technology produces layers individually to create both internal, and undercut features.
The first step is to deposit a structural metal onto a substrate. This must correspond with a cross-section of the part. After this, a sacrificial metal is then used over the structural metal. Once this process is complete, both metals must be planarized to a flat layer which is designed to a highly specific level of thickness.
When all the layers are complete, the sacrificial metal is then dissolved and the parts are ready to be used without any further processes to complete.
Due to the unique production process, MICA freeform has several advantages over other options such as Selective Laser Melting. For instance, while SLM can be used with a wider range of different materials, MICA freeform creates products that are ready to use with incredibly well-defined features.
As well as providing detailed features, MICA Freeform can be used to create different intricate parts in a high volume and avoid the need for assembly by manufacturers.
It’s clear then that MICA Freeform could pave the way for exciting possibilities in the future, particularly when it comes to producing highly detailed, strong, micro products.