Special Issue on Micro/Nano Machining – Processes, Systems and Control
In recent years, the trend in miniaturization of products is pervasive in areas such as information technology, biotechnology, environmental and medical industries. Micro-machining is the key supporting technology that has to be developed to meet the challenges posed by the requirements of product miniaturization and industrial realization of nanotechnology. Micro-machining techniques can be carried out by techniques based on energy beams (beam-based micro-machining) or solid cutting tools (tool-based micro-machining). Beambased micro-machining have some limitations due to poor control of 3D structures, low material removal rate and low aspect ratio. Moreover, these processes require special facilities and the maximum achievable thickness is relatively small. Some of these limitations can be overcome by tool-based micro-machining techniques using ultra precision machine tools and solid tools used as cutting elements to produce the micro-features with well controlled shape and tolerances. Tool-based micro-machining techniques essentially include precision machining processes as turning, milling, grinding and electrical discharge machining (EDM), whereby material removal is done at the micron level. The advantages of such processes are that almost every material such as metals, plastics and semiconductors can be machined with no limitation in machining shapes. Recently, combinations of conventional material removal processes, such as turning and milling, have been hybridized with non-conventional machining processes like EDM and EDG to fabricate micro-structures with high dimensional accuracy. In order to achieve meaningful implementation of compound micro-machining techniques three important areas are required to be addressed. These are: development of machine tools capable of performing compound micro-machining (i.e. micro turning, micro milling, micro EDM, etc. on the same machine and setup), understanding of process physics to provide relevant background for modeling,measurement, identification of control parameters and application of feedback control in order to control compound and hybrid manufacturing processes and development of compound and hybrid processes. An integrated effort in these areas is needed for successful implementation of tool-based micro-machining. An attempt has been made in this special issue to highlight latest articles on these areas. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the authors, reviewers and editors for their invaluable contributions for this issue.
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