605 Fulton Ave., W113
Rockford, IL 61103
Project Title: Micro/Meso Scale Manufacturing Micro/Meso Scale Manufacturing
NIST Award(s): Ph. 1 - SB134104W1109, Ph 2 - SB134105C0019
Technology Developed: Micro milling machines with 3, 4 or 5 axis configurations for machining metal and plastics to micron tolerances. The machines are "office friendly" (operate on 110 VAC power) and factory rugged. For automatic operation, Atometric, Inc. developed a 14 tool tool changer and a non contact device for locating the tool tip within 1 micron, among other automatic operation features.
Key Words: milling, micron , metal cutting, tool change, contract machining, energy saving, laboratory, multi-axis
Uses of Technology/Products/Service: Atometric, Inc. developed and is manufacturing micron accuracy, multi-axis milling machines, suitable for both office and factory locations. The machines have all the features of larger factory CNC machines, including special programming using standard G and M codes. They have a 14 tool tool changer, a device for non contact location of each cutting tool tip within one micron, and 3, 4 or 5 axis motion for complex machining of three dimensional parts in metal and plastics within a 75 mm (3") cube. The 100,000 rpm spindle and multi-G acceleration provide the capabilities to machine with cutting tools down to 50 microns (.002") in diameter. The research launched a new product for precision milling of small parts. Primary markets include medical devices, university research labs, and military applications.
Benefit to Company: Without the NIST Phase 1 and 2 funding, this company and this product line would not exist. Prior to the completion of the NIST funded work in July, 2007 to develop a pre-production prototype to prove its capabilities, Atometric began the design and build of two commercial machines, utilizing its own funds. One was sold during the design stage and is now ready for delivery. The machines range in price from $110,000 to $150,000 plus options. An additional machine has been sold to a University in Canada. Currently, Atometric, Inc. has displayed or is planning to display it at a number of industry shows including Clemson University, SME Grand Rapids, Rosemont, Il, San Jose, CA, \Minneapolis MN, Las Vegas, NV, and Anaheim, CA. Atometric has hired a marketing manager, is on the verge of receiving outside investment, and then hiring 2-3 more personnel. Based on market studies, they predict sales of machines to be approximately 8 in 2008.
Impact on Company Growth: Tactical, Strategic
How Product Was Commercialized: One machine has been sold is now ready for delivery. The machines range in price from $110,000 to $150,000 plus options. An additional machine has been sold to a University in Canada. Currently, Atometric, Inc. has displayed or is planning to display it at a number of industry shows . Marketing materials have been developed and the web site is in the process of being updated (www.atometric.com). An unofficiail alliance with Northern Illinois University has been ongoing, and helpful in identifying university potential customers. A key part of the marketing effort is to produce prototype and short run products to prove to postential customers that the machine will do their job.
Past R&D and/or Sales from this Project: $250,000
Estimated Future Annual R&D and/or Sales from this Project: $1,800,000