Microsystem Technology (MST) and microassembly are now for more than 20 years an important topic in industry and research – especially for products and technologies on the small scales. Every year several congresses, conferences, and workshops are taking place worldwide to present news and discuss developments in this topics. Our latest participation and presentation at the International Workshop for Microfactories (IWMF) inspired us to give an overview of the different available events, which we took part in as well.
In our experience the discussions on the “smaller events,” in terms of participants and locations, were more interesting and fruitful as the bigger ones, as such as ICRA or IROS. Two reasons for that are the more focused group of participants sharing a more homogeneous interest and the more regional focus. A large difference can be recognized also within the participants, relating either to research or to industry. Fortunately, the percentage of industry representatives was increasing over the past years, at least for some of the events. This impression was in particular strong at the mikroMONTAGE congress. This supports the trend that microassembly builds up a strong standing in companies and is not any longer just a side topic.
Now we would briefly report on our experience of the IWMF this year, which was the second time for us to present our ideas and systems. In the 2014 event on Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, we presented already the prototype of the MiCROW-Pro and the very first developments. The very positive feedback we received lead to todays range of functionality of the MiCROW-Pro. The tenth anniversary edition of the International Workshop on Microfactories took place this year from September 13-15 at the Danish Technical University (DTU) in Kgs Lyngby, just north of Copenhagen, Denmark. In the meantime, we focused on the control of the MiCROW-Pro and that is why we presented a remote control solution via internet. Instead of relocating the whole machine, an operator needs only a gamepad and a Google Cardboard. A 3D model of the system is projected on the latter one, so that the operator can dive into the microassembly. With remote manufacturing only the parts and later the assembled systems have to be shipped, reducing the downtime and increasing the throughput and use of the MiCROW-Pro.
Even if the need is not very high at the moment, this technology will help later to improve manufacturing, prototyping and small series production, and is therefore worth to be further developed. New markets will gain access to fast prototyping without the need to invest time and money into a huge machinery plant or expensive travels.
Are you interested in our materials from the workshop? Feel free to send an email to ed.wo1550339060rcim@1550339060ofni1550339060 inquiring our IWMF publication. We are always grateful for feedback and discussions on these topics, so you are welcome to get in touch with us.