4/13/2010 | 1 MINUTE READ

Small Parts Have Big Impact

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Advanced micromachining capabilities have had a monumental effect on the way parts are produced. But as parts continue to get smaller, complexities increase, as do corresponding tolerance requirements.

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We’ve seen some remarkably small technological breakthroughs in recent years—small in terms of physical size, but certainly not impact. One of the more noticeable fields where this trend comes into play is electronics, with smaller yet far more sophisticated computers, phones and other communications tools. But advancements in other areas, such as medical and aerospace applications, are no less important or impressive. Advanced micromachining capabilities have had a monumental effect on the way parts are produced.

But as parts continue to get smaller, complexities increase, as do corresponding tolerance requirements. Even the slightest discrepancies can make a big difference when dealing in diameters less than 5 thousandths of an inch. So being able to measure such parts to verify their precision becomes a serious concern as well. Generally speaking, successful micromachining requires the right combination of machine tool, tooling, workholding and measurement.

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A legitimate method for checking micromachined parts is through the use of an inspection system such as the OASIS. This optical profile inspection system, offered by George Products Company Inc., allows non-contact measurement accuracies to ±0.0001". It offers simultaneous measure of multiple dimensions, with continuous image acquisition for instant measurements.

In the article “Micro Measuring,” we take a look at an Ohio shop that specializes in micromachining for aerospace, fluid power and medical/dental applications. See how this company handles the ever-growing challenges presented by its customers, including particle counting via microscope for a fuel injector customer.

For more information about the many concerns of micro-machining, including videos and in-depth articles as well as product descriptions and a list of suppliers for all aspects of this manufacturing niche, visit PM’s Micromachining Zone.

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