Miniaturization is the order of the day. Until recently a decade ago traditionally watch parts were considered to be the micro components one can think off. Recent changes in society’s demand have forced us to manufacture variety of micro components used in different fields starting from entertainment electronics to be bio medical implants. Present day manufacturing processes used for miniaturization are the micro electronic fabrication techniques used for Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS). The limitation of all these processes is that they are applicable for producing 2D patterns and thickness of parts is very low; say a few microns and they are employed on materials such as Silicon and crystalline materials and not metals. Miniaturized parts may have overall sizes of a few millimeters but may have many features that fall in micron range.
Also we need many such miniaturized parts may be with 3D profiles, that too made of metals in many fields like aerospace to bio-medical applications. A new candidate requiring micro products is the field of biotechnology. In the medical field, diagnosis and surgery without pain are achieved through miniaturization of medical tools. Micromachining is one of the key technologies that can enable the realization of all of the above requirements for microproducts and fields with such requirements are rapidly expanding. If complementary machining processes are developed to overcome the above shortcomings, metallic miniature devices will be economically feasible reality.
The machining processes for micro/meso manufacturing can be derived from traditional machining processes such as turning milling, drilling, grinding, EDM, laser machining, etc., by judicious modification of these machines. Unit metal removal and improving equipment precision are the key factors for adapting the traditional machining processes to micro machining. When these two guidelines are set, the approach is almost correctly directed toward micromachining.