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Proceedings Paper

Tools and methods for automated assembly of miniaturized gear systems
Author(s): Matthias Nienhaus; Wolfgang Ehrfeld; Udo Berg; Felix Schmitz; H. Soultan
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Paper Abstract

The assembly of gear systems with the size of a pin head is almost beyond the bound of human tactile skills. The magic formula for series fabrication of this hybrid micro systems is the automation of the assembly process. As a contribution, this paper presents and discusses three different assembly methods comprising specifically developed tools for different types of planetary gears with outer diameters of 1.9 mm. Because of the huge importance for the complete micro assembly process, particular attention will be dedicated to the feeding and magazining of the micro gear components. Starting with metallic gear wheels as bulk good, an extremely miniaturized gear system of the Wolfram type has been automatically assembled by employing the strategy of tolerance compensation movement. As a key component, a modular tong gripper with specifically adapted gripping jaws produced by LIGA technology has been used. Further detailed investigations were spend on handling and assembly of micro injection moulded gear wheels made of POM for a three state planetary gear system. One strategy, following the idea of in situ observation, focuses on the intensive use of electronic pattern recognition. Alternatively, an unusual method based on a novel plastic wafer magazine will be discussed in detail. Hereby the exact position and orientation of injection moulded micro components will be presented from the manufacturing process up to the final micro assembly procedure. By simplifying the moulding of the micro gears as well as their handling, storing and assembly, this method has the potential to revolutionize the series fabrication of products with dimensions in the microscopic range in general.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 October 2000
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 4194, Microrobotics and Microassembly II, (11 October 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.403701
Show Author Affiliations
Matthias Nienhaus, Institut fuer Mikrotechnik Mainz GmbH (Germany)
Wolfgang Ehrfeld, Institut fuer Mikrotechnik Mainz GmbH (Germany)
Udo Berg, Institut fuer Mikrotechnik Mainz GmbH (Germany)
Felix Schmitz, Institut fuer Mikrotechnik Mainz GmbH (Germany)
H. Soultan, National Institute for Standards (Egypt)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4194:
Microrobotics and Microassembly II
Bradley J. Nelson; Jean-Marc Breguet, Editor(s)

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