Micro cutting tools
Process reliability in the use of microtools is not yet fully developed, and there is great potential for improving economic efficiency by reducing wear and tool breakage. At the Fraunhofer IPK, we analyze and optimize the entire process chain for the manufacture of microtools, including geometry generation, grinding production and cutting edge preparation. A special focus is on tools for replicative processes, e.g. for milling electrodes for EDM processes or for direct manufacturing of mold inserts, for microstructuring of surfaces as well as for direct machining of microcomponents.
Micro injection molds
The quality of replication in the production of highly complex plastic parts is largely determined by the injection molding tool used. We specialize in the manufacture of molds, especially at the technological frontiers, and offer our customers a closed process chain for the manufacture and testing of standard and micro molds as well as mold inserts with optical functionality. Subsequent sampling or production of functional samples can be carried out on a wide range of injection molding equipment and is supported by the latest results from research and development projects.
Technologies for microreplication
Innovative systems with micro-optical, microfluidic or biomedical functionality can only be produced with equally innovative injection molding tools, machines and process technologies. Our injection molds are equipped with generatively manufactured components and, together with specialized micro-injection molding equipment, mold integrated temperature and pressure sensors, and a high-precision temperature control system, ensure a variothermal injection compression molding process. In this way, we enable the replication of micro-optics with minimized shrinkage, warpage and birefringence properties, while at the same time providing process-reliable molding of sub-micron diffractive optical features.
In addition to traditional processes such as turning, milling, drilling and grinding, additive manufacturing is finding its way into tool and mold making. Its advantages are particularly apparent when tools with near-contour cooling or lightweight versions are required. We develop and optimize generative manufacturing processes for one-off or small series production of tools and tool components. With selective laser melting (SLM), selective laser sintering (SLS) and 3D printing, we offer three promising technologies that can be used to reliably process a wide range of materials, from plastics to metal alloys.