The LEM is a laser-marking machine, which is compact, nonpolluting, and simple to use.
Micronora, an exhibition devoted to microtechnology, is a biannual show taking place this year in Besançon, France, October 1 to 4. This year's show highlights several technologies for precision machining.
Cheval Frères' subsidiary, Laser Cheval, which specializes in the manufacture of YAG lasers for cutting, marking, welding, and drilling applications, is introducing an easy-to-use miniature laser. Known as "LEM," it allows manufacturers to mark at low cost and without technical complications. The machine, which is the size of a photocopier, will mark steel, plastic, aluminum, titanium, leather, and gold.
Also highlighted at the show was metal-injection-molding (MIM) technology, offered by the French company, Alliance. The MIM process uses a mixture of metal powder and plastic, which is injected into a mold in the shape of the part using a simple injection press. The casting is then moved to an autoclave where the particles of plastic melt and are removed. What remains is sintered under a controlled atmosphere to homogenize the metal and eliminate holes left by the plastic without affecting the shape of the part.
"Metal injection molding makes it possible to produce parts three millimeters in diameter and several tens of millimeters long, with a tolerance of 0.03 mm without reworking," explains Jean-Claude Bihr, manager at Alliance. "Its cost is very competitive for runs of at least 2,000 parts."