The FP7 converted the Micro Factory to nanotechnology

February 8, 2013

Funding Scheme: 2013-02-08


The collective project COTECH («Converging Technologies for Microsystems Manufacturing»)  which is dedicated to the micro- production will be financed under the 7th Framework Program from the theme «NMP – NMP2-LA-2009-214491: Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and new Production Technologies area». In order to encourage the Micro Factory to invest in nanotechnology.


The latest trend has been towards smaller products with smaller features in the range of sub-micron and nanometer scale. This is continuously progressing and leading to a demand for polymer-based micromechanical systems, which will require complex shaped and even multi-material components which cannot be produced using the available techniques. In order to support European manufacturers, existing micro fabrication techniques and tools need to be adapted and modified. This means that micro replication technologies such as micro injection moulding and hot embossing have to be improved significantly. Furthermore, automated part-assembly and highly sophisticated quality control techniques also need to be established.

The collaborative project ‘Converging Technologies for Microsystems Manufacturing (COTECH)’ did just that. The project concentrated and combined complementary techniques by converging technologies and developing hybrid solutions in the full process chain of micro production. It has shortened the time to market and reduce costs, evolving the vision of modular desktop or micro factories.

COTECH has been able to develop and demonstrate new micro replication techniques combining capabilities of different processes and techniques based on micro-injection moulding. A global process chain realizing automated assembly steps has been implemented for the manufacture of polymer-based micro-mechanical components and systems. The process is supported by new advanced simulation models and high speed metrology system for in- quality control in all steps of the process chains. A new generation of micro-injection moulding machinery has been developed and is already available on the market.

The technology produced by this project can be used in the areas of healthcare and the automotive industry.The project demonstrated the capability to produce with a reduced number of steps high added value micro devices with advanced functionalities in producing components like self -ligating dental brackets, mico sockets for signal carriages of a hearing instrument, lens for cell phone flash lights and many more.

The project is an EU funded project under the 7th Framework Program under the “NMP – NMP2-LA-2009-214491: Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and new Production Technologies area. The project started in October 2008, with the consortium composed of 25 European organisations (SMEs, industrial leaders, research centres, universities and service organisations) from 10 European countries. 

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