BY SUE ROBERTS
Think about how small glaucoma pumps must be to be implanted on the surface
of an eye. Those pumps need to be small
enough to do their jobs without impeding
normal eye movement. One report from
German research firm Fraunhofer EMFT
said that its glaucoma pump measures 7 by
7 by 1 cubic mm. Think about how small the
components must be inside that pump. An
entire day’s production of one of those parts
could fit in a coffee cup.
Then take the thought process a step further and consider how small the tools need
to be to make those microparts.
Not many years ago, they might have been
produced in a shop with a bank of multispindle turning machines and, off in a corner or
a clean room, one Swiss machine to make the
small parts. Now, expanding focus on the
tiny parts world and a proliferation of industries using miniscule parts has prompted an
expansion of companies dedicated to producing parts measured in millimetres.
TOOLS ARE LASTING LONGER
Equipment to produce these tiny parts is
continually improving, and the tooling
that this equipment needs to make parts
is following suit. “It’s a bit like leap frog,”
said Van Simpson, product manager of
Orders increase, part and tooling
Solid-carbide tools from the MicrOscope® line of
Groovex tooling are for diameters 1 mm and larger.
Photo courtesy of Vargus USA.