European Network of Excellence “Multi Material Micro Manufacture: Technology and Applications” (4M)
Miniaturised products have numerous applications in different areas, such as in the automotive industry, telecommunications and medical engineering. In biotechnological applications, for example, miniaturised systems have gained considerable acceptance for analytical and measurement applications, as they improve conventional systems in terms of sample size, response times, analytical performance, process control and throughput. MEMS and MOEMS are other examples of technologies that relies heavily on miniaturised integrated mechanical, optical and electrical components. These products often include either: - Components with overall dimensions and functionalities in the micrometer range - Components with microstructured features (from hundreds of micrometers down to hundreds of nanometres). Enduring challenges are the shaping of 3D components or features as well as selection and development of processes that meet both functional and economical demands. In high-volume production, mould (pattern) based replication is often most suited, while in small-volume production environment, processes that don’t need product specific tooling are often more economical. A trend is to integrate functionalities such as interconnect and interfaces in components in order to reduce the number of parts and/or assembly costs. A consequence of this integration on the design level is a new value chain. Hence another trend is to look for integration of the functionalisation process (local surface finishing, application of bio-reagents, local (nano-)surface structuring) into the component manufacturing process. This document deals with state-of-the-art and trend in manufacturing of polymer components and devices by means of replication processes. This report includes information on the tooling or manufacturing of moulds, on replication processes and materials, on process simulation, on quality control and on applying of conductive tracks for electronic or electric applications.