Two engineers working on a micro gear

Microtechnology
at Micromotion

Outstanding engineering in the service of our customers

Design and development at Micromotion

Design and development involves working as a team. At Micromotion, we always orientate ourselves closely to the needs of our customers and the market. Individually tailored solutions are the goal. To achieve this, we constantly develop our products together with the customer, choosing the right components and seamlessly integrating them into the final design. In doing so, we draw upon support from the latest development tools, various simulation tools and the newest calculation software.

Detailed technical documentation,

Our product development is complemented by detailed technical documentation, parts lists and assembly drawings, as well as separate test plans where necessary. For the design and development process, validated time schedules ensure that development planning, review and qualification are uniformly implemented and fully documented.

We do, of course, observe and monitor adherence to legal guidelines during every step of the development process.

From design to innovation – turning ideas into technology.

 

The direct LIG process: four steps to a precise micro gear

The manufacturing process for our components is a highly complex sequence of operations that uses a variation of the so-called LIGA process. Micromotion employs deep X-ray lithography, followed by alloy electroplating, to produce high-strength micro components. Lithographic processes enable the creation of structures with maximum precision with dimensions in the micrometre range. This technology allows a high degree of control over the process. This process takes place in four steps. 

1

Exposure

The gear structures are located on the absorber layer of a mask and are very precisely transferred, by shadow projection, into a photoresist. They have heights from one millimetre and deviations of less than one micrometre using high-energy, shortwave and absolutely parallel synchrotron radiation.

1

Development

Through the subsequent development process, three dimensional negatives are produced.

1

Galvanic moulding

The moulds for the gear structures are then galvanically moulded with nickel/iron electrolyte.

1

Components

Following galvanic moulding of the gears, the tooth width of the micro gears is created through machining. The gears consist of a high strength metal, are corrosion resistant, can be autoclaved and used in a very wide temperature range as well as in an ultra-high vacuum.

Extreme operating conditions require special manufacturing processes. Here, we set new standards.

Production at Micromotion: high technology under cleanroom conditions

Assembly of our products takes place exclusively under cleanroom conditions. From the storage and quality control of individual micro components, to their assembly under a microscope and the qualification on our test stands – highly modern production conditions and state of the art equipment are essential prerequisites for consistently good performance in our assembly processes.

Complete traceability

The product manufacturing process is tracked at every stage and documented in an easy to understand style. Every drive is marked with a serial number, assigned individual characteristics and measured values and all process parameters are recorded in order to ensure complete traceability at all times.

We work as specialists for specialists.

 

Zero backlash micro gearboxes: a functional principle transformed into engineering ingenuity

The zero backlash gears, the heart of a number of our products, function according to the globally unique principle of our parent company, Harmonic Drive® AG. Harmonic Drive® gears consist of four elements; the Wave Generator, the Flexspline, the Circular Spline and the Dynamic Spline. Here, the Wave Generator consists of a sun gear wheel – typically mounted on the motor shaft – and two or more elastically deformable planetary gear wheels.

The sun gear-wheel of the Wave Generator serves as the drive element. By means of the planetary gear wheels, the Wave Generator deforms the Flexspline, which engages with the Circular Spline and the Dynamic Spline. As the sun gear-wheel turns, the planetary gear-wheels of the Wave Generator travel — the major elliptical axis shifts and, thus, so too does the position of tooth engagement.

The Flexspline has two fewer teeth than the Circular Spline and, thus, one rotation of the Wave Generator, causes a shift of two teeth between the Flexspline and the Circular Spline. Fixing the Circular Spline in place causes the Flexspline to move in the opposite direction of the sun gear-wheel. The Dynamic Spline rotates in the same direction and with the same speed as the Flexspline is used as the output drive element.

With this system, a large number of gear ratio variations can be produced, without needing to make changes with respect to the installation space. It is also possible to flexibly adapt the very high speeds to a wide range of requirements without causing any problems. An exceptionally low moment of inertia allows for high dynamic accelerations and positioning movements successfully completes the package.

We didn’t reinvent the wheel – but we did significantly optimise and intelligently rearrange it.

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