Integ-Micro: New production technologies of complex 3D micro-devices through multi-process integration of ultra precision engineering techniques.

Integ-Micro is a research project funded under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission. The four-year project was launched in October 2008 with the objective of developing new high precision micro-manufacturing technologies. The results will enable the eco-efficient and eco-friendly production of 3D complex shape micro-components made of various materials. The beneficiary sectors of these radical innovations in micro-machining technologies will cover a wide range of industries such as medical, bio-medical, automotive, environmental monitoring, aerospace, watch manufacturing and others.

Integ-Micro aims at facing current challenges in micro-machining operations such as multitasking, productivity and fast reconfigurability. The project strategy is based on the integration of different machining processes on compact setups. Hybrid, reconfigurable, multitasking machines will be developed by combining at least two processes in one workholding configuration:

  • Micro-milling/turning + laser process (Platform 1a and 1b)
  • Electro-discharge machining + micro drilling, milling grinding (Platform 2)
  • Ultrasonic vibration assisted micro milling/drilling/grinding (Platform 3)
  • Ultra precision diamond and CBN cutting (Platform 4)

Multiple machining operations in a single setup will guarantee greater accuracy, reduced handling and plant area, faster throughput and increased productivity.

Furthermore, other relevant micro-machining issues, such as micro-deburring, thermal and dynamic stability, process control and reliability, eco-sustainability, will be solved by key enabling technologies underdeveloped such as: ultra-high speed dry micro-machining; sensing, measurements, inspection and quality assessment; control techniques; advanced adaptronics and mechatronics; new motion units and guidance systems. The new hybrid machines will enable the machining of various materials, such as high performance polymers or ultra high strength metallic alloys, with better surface and geometrical quality. Ambitious targets set by the project will be validated by the production of industrial prototypes for each of the above technology platforms. The exploitation of high precision micro-machining technologies is expected to reduce the cost for producing a single component by 40-60%. Moreover, multitasking and rapidly reconfigurable machines will help to achieve faster throughput. Integ-Micro aims at reducing the reconfiguration and ramp-up time by 50%. Finally, downsizing of the machining equipment is expected to lead 70% reduction of machine and logistics footprint. The miniaturisation of machines is expected to be accompanied by reduction of energy consumption (40-60%) and reduction of waste emission, with a positive impact on sustainability.

The last goal of the project is the realization of an Integ-Micro factory through the integration of all or most of the platforms. The capabilities of the integrated factory will be proved machining complex 3D micro-parts chosen in the target application areas also considering the commercial impact.

The Integ-Micro project is coordinated by Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna – CRIM Lab (Centre for applied research in micro-engineering), specialized in applied research on micro-mechatronics mainly in the biomedical field, and the scientific coordinator is Prof. Paolo Dario. The project involves 20 partners from different countries, Italy, UK, Spain, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland including universities, research institutes, companies and industry associations.



(1) Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (Italy)
(2) DVST Ltd (United Kingdom)
(3) Ce.S.I. (Italy)
(4) CECIMO-European Committee for the Co-operation of the Machine Tools Industries (Belgium)
(5) Cranfield University (United Kingdom)
(6) DIAD srl (Italy)
(7) Fidia S.p.A. (Italy)
(8) Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. (Germany)
(9) Fundacion Tekniker (Spain)
(10) GSI Group Limited (United Kingdom)
(11) Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium)
(12) Kern GmbH (Germany)
(13) Kistler Instrumente AG Winterthur (Switzerland)
(14) LASAG (Switzerland)
(15) MicroTech S.r.l. (Italy)
(16) PEAR meccaniche Arrigo Pecchioli (Italy)
(17) The Swatchgroup Research and Development Ltd. (Switzerland)
(18) TWT GmbH Science & Innovation (Germany)
(19) Università degli Studi di Brescia (Italy)
(20) WZL, Rheinisch Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen/WZL, Aachen (Germany)

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