AbstractA Swiss company offers a novel process for high precision micromachining using micro powder-blasting for cutting, drilling, surface machining of numerous materials such as glass or quartz, silicon, ceramic, piezoceramic, plastics and composite materials. Technical co-operation, manufacturing agreement or commercial agreement with technical assistance are possible.
DetailsMicro-machining can be performed by several techniques like ultra-sound, laser or chemical etching. Each of them presents some limitations: ultra-sound is quite expensive, laser-machining is not possible with glass and quartz and chemical etching gives isotropic structures.
The company has developed a micropowder-blasting technology for machining and deburring parts. This technique is based on the erosion of brittle materials using a high velocity powder beam.
The machining of the materials is done at room temperature through a mask to shape the designed structures in a dry processing. The mechanical erosion enables the cutting or etching of complex shapes with micrometric precision.
The deburring or surface finishing is performed by using the same principle but without mask and under specific conditions.
The technology allows to cut or drill at high precision (±5 µm), very dense networks of structures having various shapes (rectangular and circular cuttings)as well as through-holes having a minimum diameter of 100 µm. Sidewalls of the through-structures have an angle ranging from 0° and 25° against a vertical cut, depending on the material.
It also allows to carve at room temperature, various types of materials, at the micrometer level. Constant or gradually etched 100 µm wide grooves, microchannels or cavities can be machined. Pillar-like structures having high aspect ratio (length/width ratio of 3 can be reached with glass, silicium or piezoceramics) can also be performed. The average surface roughness of the machined surface is above 0.8 µm. Micromachining can be performed on processed electronic plates.
Micro powder-blasting process allows the cutting, the drilling and the surface machining of numerous materials. Micromachining is performed on planar materials with dimensions not exceeding 400x300 mm. The company has developed etching procedures which are specific to each type of substrate. Glass (float, pyrex, quartz), silicon, ceramics (piezoceramics, ferrite, aluminium nitride, porcelain, enamel, porous materials), metals (precious and sintered metals), hard plastics (PMMA, epoxy) and composite can be micro-machined using this technology. This list of materials is not exhaustive.
Micropowder-blasting is a fast and cost effective technique since the processing is performed via multiple nozzles working in parallel.
Applications are in all domains where micro-channels or microstructures have to machined in brittle materials, for example in microfluidics, packaging, MEMS, etc…
Advantages of micromachining by micro powder-blasting:
- Dry and room temperature processing.
- No burring and no stress induced by the machining.
- Anisotropic etching of numerous materials.
- High precision etching (±5 µm).
- Low cost thanks to multiple nozzles working in parallel.
- Compatible with subsequent clean room processing.