The entire manufacturing process for miniaturized and micro-structured parts must be optimized in order to develop the opportunities of cost-effective and flexible micro production. In addition to technical solutions, a suitable work organization and a degree of automation in keeping with the number of units produced are important. The individual elements of production systems such as design methods, and micro production and handling techniques as well as the production facilities must be aligned in terms of performance and designed to enable operation by skilled workers.
The German research environment is already well developed for the industrial production of micro parts and assemblies in structures between 10 µm and 0.1µm as well as of nano-scale materials, layers and structures. Numerous institutes of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centres, of universities and of the Fraunhofer Society offer good personnel and technical conditions for excellent research in this area.
The thematic fields of µPRO include inter alia:
Micro and nano production offer new prospects for growth and employment in a high-wage country like Germany. Major challenges must be met, for example:
New production technologies and equipment have been developed for micro production. Efforts were made to ensure that the new devices and tools, and the concepts for design, production, placement, testing and repair would cover the entire value added chain.
This enables the cost-effective production of changing amounts of higher performing products with a higher degree of functionality such as sensors, industrial control systems and micro engines.
The main stakeholders in the development activities are the mechanical and automotive engineering sectors and the electronics industry, as well as optical and medical engineering companies.