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Micro Components

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In the age of increasing mobility the miniaturization of many functional components is progressing steadily. The driving forces in the process are gaining and processing of information and the improvement of processes with the help of additional comfort functions. In addition to the continuously progressing miniaturization in the field of the chip industry and of the reduction of the size in manufacturing technology which takes place at the same time, sensors and actuators play a decisive role in almost all fields of technology. This means more and more systems can operate autonomously through sensor and actuator networks. Moreover, numerous comfort functions are offered to the user in addition to reduced maintenance and monitoring expenses. Since these additional components both take up space and entail additional weight at the same time, miniaturization is of the highest importance.

In the first place, the material requirements in such mini- and micro-systems do not differ from those in their macroscopic counterparts. However, they become more and more difficult to fulfil with conventional materials and processes since, on the one hand, the considerably bigger ratio of surface to volume influences the functionality and, on the other hand, tolerances regarding dimensions of a few micrometers to millimetres which are too narrow cannot be fulfilled with all materials and processes. Hence, precision manufacturing technology plays a decisive role.

One typical example are micro-components which are subject to tribological stress and in which a high surface quality and a highly precise geometry form the basic precondition for optimised wear and tear. The materials which can be used are fine grained ceramics and carbon materials; in this process, the manufacturing technology has to be adjusted to the micro-geometry. One example are micro-bearings for metres and centerings made of carbon graphite and micro- gears made of aluminium oxide.

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