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In its research for Wohlers Report 2014, Wohlers Associates, Inc. found that revenues from the production of parts for final products represents 34.7 percent of the entire market for additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing—terms that are used interchangeably. Since 2003, this market segment has gone from less than 4 percent to more than one-third of total revenues from AM products and services worldwide. In capturing this share of the market, the use of AM for this application grew by 65.4 percent in 2013 to an estimated $1.065 billion, up from $643.8 million the prior year.

Photoetching specialist Precision Micro, Birmingham, England, partnered with German manufacturer Evopro Systems Engineering AG to develop a machine to help remove production batches of photoetched components from processed metal sheets.

Material surface analysis at the micro- and nano-scale could illuminate wear and fatigue early for aircraft and other metal parts.

News-Briefs

At the microscale, modern laser technology enables quick and inexpensive fabrication of microparts in traditional photoresists. A compact desktop laser system developed by LPKF, Tualatin, Ore., uses a scanning laser beam to directly expose the resist samples.

Technical-Whitepapers

Researchers at Penn State University have demonstrated an acoustofluidic pump powered by a piezoelectric transducer about the size of a quarter. This reliable, inexpensive, programmable pump is a crucial feature for lab-on-a-chip devices that could make the diagnosis of many global life-threatening diseases easy and affordable.

Protomatic Medical, West Dexter, Mich., is a medical device machine shop specializing in CNC precision medical machining. A number of complex orthopedic medical devices are manufactured regularly, according to the company, including cannulated hip screws, locking pins and nails, pedicle screws, bone plates, maxoclofacial screws and implants and mandibular joint replacement devices.

Product-Briefs

Until the late 1980s, dentists relied almost exclusively on third-party dental labs to produce dental crowns. Today, however, they can produce such tooth restorations themselves using chairside dental milling machines smaller than automatic bread makers.

Down-Sizing

The U.S. Patent Office has issued a new patent related to the TriboMAM drilling systems manufactured by M4 Sciences LLC, West Lafayette, Ind.  The company recently released a next-generation embedded microcontroller, enabling the first implementation of the process-level feedback control for Modulation-Assisted Machining (MAM) systems.

The trajectory for one aerospace market is straight up.

Feature

The use of lasers has risen considerably since 1965, when the first industrial laser was used to drill holes in diamond dies. Since then, lasers have been used for cutting, machining, marking, surface treatment, welding, optical scanning, medical procedures—and, yes, micromachining.

Feature