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When SmalTec was founded in 2002 the initial focus was on being the exclusive Panasonic Micro-EDM Equipment Provider in North America. Today, SmalTec has accepted the challenge of being a true 3-D micro-EDM Leader by introducing new leading edge microtechnology solutions and offerings where Panasonic has left off. After several years of working with Fortune 100 companies and America’s top R&D Facilities, and built on the strong knowledge gained from the many years with Panasonic, SmalTec expanded its offerings in 2005 with SmalTec engineered and locally manufactured next generation Micro-EDM equipment, with expanded capability.

The evolution has begun and SmalTec is committed to providing the latest technologies to support future micro manufacturing requirements. Our plan over the next several years is to introduce a broad range of products and technologies from nano-pulse EDM to integrated devices utilizing multiple technologies within one platform. The introduction of the GM703 has allowed for new levels of micro machining. This technology provides optics grade surface finishes, catapulting volume micro-lens manufacturing into the future.

Different rules apply at the micro or meso, nano, and atomic scale. Research is needed that addresses accuracy, quality, and productivity issues in meso/micromachining of complex three-dimensional parts. Also important to research are the assembly and metrology of these micro-parts, as well as integration of the precision mechanical technology with the chip technology developed for MEMS and microelectronics.

SmalTec is dedicated to offering resources and a platform for all groups to communicate and to pursue challenges together. We continuously strive to remove hurdles and to promote fellowship within the Small Tech Industry. Improvements and developments continue within the Small Tech Industry as a result of this fellowship. Leaders and research engineers need to be aware of the challenges. The part sizes are getting smaller and smaller, and the true solution will be to secure the part and refine the process. Traditionally the part has determined the process. In tomorrow’s manufacturing environment we need to develop the process to the manufacture part.

Understanding of process mechanism physical modeling and simulation of traditional, such as cutting, drilling, and nontraditional, such as, EDM, ECM, and USM; and new hybrid processes; process material interaction effects, i.e. surface integrity on machined components; development of process monitoring and control and environmental are some of the research issues essential to improve the performance of unit machine processes.
3-Dimensional Meso/ Micro Machining Future
Miniaturization is the key to the manufacture of future generations of many kinds of electro-mechanical products for a variety of industrial and medical applications, because of the continuing demand on increased functionality and reduced size. A basic technology for the production of miniature parts is micromachining. Micromachining precision technology such as 3-dimensional micro EDM, micro ECM, micro laser machining, microgrinding etc. can produce microscopic and mesoscopic mechanical structures of complex shapes. It is complementary to etching and masks-based micromachining