What exactly is iMC Research that would lead to micromachining?
iMC (integrated Machining Center) Research
What is integrated Machining Center (iMC)? A system to fabricate a product by means of integrated and composite management of conditions and phenomena related to the machining center to effectively control data-driven machining technology to its (minimum-level) limitation.
We actualize precision micro-machining in invisible size by measuring and monitoring related conditions and phenomena, such as precision positioning of a material and physical characteristics of a cutting tool, to an extent and level not ordinally aware of, thereby controlling relevant external factors.
We are committed to leading technological innovations in the manufacturing sector by transforming a small-town factory to a leading-edge technology development center. The key element is the machining center that has excellent processing capabilities, such as a high degree of adaptability to a wide variety of materials and quick machining time.
Actualizing precision micro-machining in invisible size, to innovate the manufacturing sector
There is underdeveloped area in manufacturing – micro fabrication
There is unexplored territory in the world of manufacturing, and that is creating small and detailed parts to be utilized for such areas as leading medical research and treatment related to micro-world of human bodies, space industries, and IT and automobile industries. Even an experienced craftsman must admit there will be an invisible amount of shake when dealing with very small works several millimeters in size. The smaller the work, the bigger the risk of breakage and deformation due to the shake, and that is why it has been said “All-face machining of 1mm or less is just NOT possible.” Everyone goes by this belief, and that created limitation to the creative possibilities of products.
Pursuit of Micro-machining Technology will Change the World
Manufacturing and Craftsmanship is facing great challenge.
We are making breakthrough on the limitation barrier through research and development of iMC (integrated machining center) concept. Sky is the limit. The inspiration for manufacturing will go much further, with possibilities expanding further and further. The change in manufacturing sector will be dramatic.
We at Micro Cutting R&D will cultivate the underdeveloped area of micro machining and pass on the benefits to the whole manufacturing sector.
Objective of iMC Research and Development
We have developed ways to automate the risky manual process, that will make the world’s first all-face micro-machining of works less than 1mm possible. These micro parts will contribute to advancement of related manufacturing sector, in highly advanced facilities and machines. All these endeavors will lead to enhancement of technologies in overall manufacturing industries and productivity.
Characteristics and Challenge of Micro-machining?
Micro-manufacturing using machining centers allow broad selection of materials in a short period of manufacture time.
There are many stages in a manufacturing process, including: Cutting, which means to cut, polish and separate; Plasticity, which mean to create form using plate strength; and Cast, which is dissolving and forming of material.
In manufacturing, cutting was done by cutting away unnecessary areas of materials using cutting tools. This enables broader selection of materials, with precision. 3D printers mainly deal with resin, and not so much metal. There is flexibility in selection of materials when manufacturing is done by cutting.
Challenge of micro-cutting using machining centers was the manual part.
Using machining center, we can automatically change multiple cutting-tools, and perform cutting manufacturing through numerical control, including milling, boring, pitting, and tapping.
There have been noted advancement in machining center technologies, such as miniaturization of spindles and introduction of 8-axis, and delicate control have become possible with programming. However, there still remain influence of external factors, at times of setting cutting-tools, working with spindles, and positioning of materials to be manufactured, and these factors prevent workers from manufacturing products as programmed.
Most of these external factors are caused in the manual process. These manual processes were indeed the biggest factor to prevent the factories from mass production of precise parts manufacturing.
What is integrated Machining Center (iMC)?
These external factors were taken for granted in related manufacturing sectors, but there lies the chance for improvement. That is why we came up with “integrated Machining Center” concept. This is to control limitation of data-driven manufacturing in machining centers.
There was manual process in cutting manufacturing, and craftsmanship was asked for in such tasks as changing works, verifying process, and assembly. In “integrated Machining Center” these tasks are automated, thus eliminating risk of change in product quality and slight shift in position due to slight handshakes and other manual tasks. All manual tasks are replaced by numerically controlled (NC) control.
Developing iMC Tools for Micro-machining
We at Micro Cutting R&D aim to develop micro-fabrication technology on the practical level, meaning the technology can actually put into use at small and medium sized factories.
・No big investment necessary
・No expensive environmental facility necessary, such as temperature control
These are the conditions we always bear in mind in developing integrated Machining Center (iMC).
Results so far
We have figured out various external factors, and developed system to control such factors.
-Ex.1 Margin of error in cutting tools itself and at times of installing: HAGOROMO (measuring of tool-length)
-Ex.2 Margin of error in spindles of machining center: BLAZE (checking of spindle shake)
-Ex.3 Location precision inside machining center: ORIGAMI (vertical 3-axis double-wrist robot inside machining center)
-Ex.4 Movement during inspection on top of table in machining center: AMATERASU (interior camera)
-Ex.5 Error in precision at time of assembling parts: Micro Parts Handling System
Refer: Development of Micro-cutting Technologies
We have started development of manufacturing process related to machining centers in 1990s, considering various professional fields including machine engineering, physical properties, manufacturing, 3D data development and others, in order to create tools best suited for the factory site.
Future of iMC System, manufacturing on-demand, creating various value-added products in small amounts, making full use of networks.
In integrated Machining Center (iMC) system, 3D data for micro-cutting is obtained from 3D database. Machining centers then will work as 3D printers, so that on-demand manufacturing of specific number of products at specific time will become possible.
Creating various value-added products in small amounts is the essence of integrated Machining Center system.
In Europe, endeavors are underway for circulating society, trying to make the most use of limited resources. In some area makers may be held responsible for storing repair parts. However, such activity is costly. On-demand parts production system is an ideal way to solve this challenge.
We at Micro-Cutting R&D are committed to the following:
● Provision of 3D data for micro-cutting manufacturing
● Establishment of cloud-based database network to promote and support micro-cutting manufacturing
● Specifying errors and shakes that influence precision of micro-manufacturing, and develop systems to solve them.
● Development of highly value-added leading products
Our iMC (integrated Machining Center) system is a commitment, to let factories challenge development of new products, try new materials for manufacturing, and to work and succeed in the micro-manufacturing world not visible with the eyes.