Metals Processing

In the column to the right you will find useful information about the processing of metals.

Below you will find recent posts on the 4M Association which are considered to be of interest to the Metals Interest Group.

Laser bending

Technology suitable for small quantity production

The use of a Laser in forming technology enables the prototype production of freeform sheet metal parts without using any solid tool. The laser beam is applied to a workpiece where the sheet is locally heated. After heating two possible mechanisms appear in dependency of the energy input. If only the surface layer of the sheet is locally heated, when cooling down, the tensile stress in the surface layer lead to a bending moment in direction to the laser (temperature gradient mechanism).

Physical Vapour Deposition

Technology suitable small quantity production

Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) for micromachining of metal is mainly done by sputtering. It consists on the application of metal layers of thickness between 25 nm to 5 microns. Metals like Cu, Al, Ti, Cr, and oxides Al2O3 are the most common ones. It is used to produce diffraction gratings, pressure sensors, and micro moulds.

Chemical vapor deposition

Technology suitable small quantity production

Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is a chemical process for depositing thin films of various materials. In a typical CVD process the substrate is exposed to one or more volatile precursors, which react and/or decompose on the substrate surface to produce the desired deposit.

Laser Micromachining

Technology suitable for small quantity production

Laser micromachining removes material in a layer-by-layer fashion. It is an ablation operation causing vaporisation of material as a result of interaction between a laser beam and the workpiece being machined. The removal of material during laser ablation is affected by the characteristics of the laser beam and the workpiece but is mainly determined by the way the two interact. The most important laser radiation features are the pulse length (duration) and repetition rate (frequency).

Electrolytic in-line dressing

Technology suitable for both serial and small quantity production

The application of this process is not properly to produce microparts, but to produce smooth and curved optical surfaces. It uses a ductile grinding machine tool with electrolytic in-line dressing (ELID). Current highly accurate ELID processing is only applicable to flat surfaces. It allows average roughness value down to 0.5 nm, and a dimensional accuracy of 1 to 1000 (typically 50 nm for a work piece of 50 mm) in the production of surfaces in hard metal.

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