Since its foundation in 1992, the Laboratory for Micromachining (LFM) has successfully dedicated itself to the practical development of ultra-precise mechanical manufacturing processes. The LFM offers industrial companies and research institutes problem solutions for the production of sophisticated optical and mechanical components, which today play a key role in numerous innovative fields ranging from medical technology, automotive and lighting technology, optical and precision mould making, industrial metrology to astronomical research.
The research focus of the Laboratory for Micromachining is particularly on the development of process chains and material-oriented manufacturing in the field of mould making for complex optical components as well as the manufacturing processes for precision and micro components. The focus is on ultra-precise mechanical manufacturing processes such as turning and milling with diamond tools, precision grinding and polishing as well as micro manufacturing by micro milling and micro grinding.
Diamond machining processes can be used, for example, to produce optical freeform surfaces and aspheres or microstructured optical components such as microlens arrays, Fresnel lenses or diffractive elements. Precision grinding processes and polishing technologies in turn open up the processing of further classes of materials, e.g. the manufacture of optical mould inserts or lenses made of brittle-hard materials. The development of special manufacturing processes including their periphery is in the foreground here. Micro-machining processes play a central role in the manufacture and structuring of forming tools for micro- and precision forming technology and other components subject to high tribological stress. The high-precision machining of medical technology materials, such as implant ceramics, is also opened up by the technologies of micro-machining.
For research work, the LFM has various multi-axis ultra-precision machine tools for component machining in a 300 sqm air-conditioned workshop area. High-precision production measurement technology is also an integral part of the activities. The analysis of process variables such as machining forces or structure-borne noise emission is used in combination with component characterization for process development. A wide range of high-resolution measuring instruments for form and surface evaluation and plant characterization are available for the evaluation of machined surfaces. These range from atomic force microscopy, white light interferometry and confocal microscopy to coordinate metrology, aspherical profilometry and interferometry.