Mifa has been working for a leading German microscope manufacturer for several years. Following a masterclass in precision extrusion, the client asked if we would like to help them come up with a completely new product. An attractive and functional profi le was developed in cooperation with their engineers and designers.
New insights thanks to a Mifa Masterclass
The microscope manufacturer is an old acquaintance of Mifa. We have produced a part for one of their microscopes for many years, but until now our cooperation was only about that one part. As we had the idea that we could do more for each other, we held a masterclass for their engineers. During this session, we provided an explanation of the possibilities presented by extrusion. Points addressed in greater depth included precision, the possibility of producing small quantities, and the great freedom of design in construction. The masterclass convinced the engineers that precision extrusion would be a good alternative - or even the best solution - for many designs. The result was an immediate order.
Would you also like to learn more about the possibilities of precision extrusion? Then register here for a masterclass.
The manufacturer is working on a new platform. This includes a drive unit with which a plateau can be positioned. The manufacturer asked us to help come up with a proposal for a possible housing. This is a part in which multiple functionalities have to come together: cooling, the precise assembly of the drive unit, the simple positioning of printed circuit boards, and ‘design’.
The optimal profile thanks to the technical knowledge of Mifa
The original construction was the idea of an optimum extrusion according to the manufacturer. Unfortunately, this proposal was not feasible in terms of the extrusion technology required. We were able to immediately present an alternative proposal to split the part into two parts that could be slid into each other. On the basis of this proposal, we began discussions with the engineers. It soon became clear what the most essential aspects of the product were. This knowledge then allowed us to create an optimized profile.
With the proposed changes, a second version was drafted. This draft incorporated a number of typical precision extrusion ‘tricks’:
- Half-open screw channels to be extruded at the same time
- Connectors for a cover profile
- Ribbed cooling fi ns in order to increase the surface area
These are typical things that can be easily extruded when making the profile. Following a consultation between engineers and designers, we ultimately produced a third and definitive design. This design is accurate, stable, can be established in a single production process, and satisfies all the client’s requirements.
The complex points in the design
The design features a number of points that bring about extra complexity:
- The round opening for the motor holder must be large enough to be able to attach the motor easily. In this regard, a form-locked contour must also be created. This is in order to create a contact surface area for the cooling o the motor that is as large as possible.
- Tolerances. As this relates to an assembled product, harmonization between the tolerances of both profiles is necessary. Only a perfect interplay between the tolerances can ensure a useable end product.
- The shape of the product. As the product is asymmetrical, this has a negative effect on the straightness of the product during the extrusion process. In order to compensate for this, we work closely with the mould supplier.
The advantages for the client
Precision extrusion technology for this product had various advantages for the client. The top 3:
- The possibility of acquiring small quantities. In the first instance, the client ordered a hundred products. This small quantity meant that other alternative production processes are too expensive. A process such as casting is not a viable option for such quantities due to the high mould costs (up to ten times the price of an extrusion mould).
- The freedom of design: extrusion offers engineers great freedom. Read the document Designing without concession on this topic.
- One-stop-shop. After extruding, the profi le is machine-processed (CNC) and is anodized in black. All this is carried out by Mifa. We extrude, process, and coat: as a result, we can deliver a ready-to-use product for the client.
Precision extrusion brings new insights
This client’s engineers had not thought about extrusion for quite some time. That was due primarily to the persistent preconception that aluminium extrusion is only a viable option for bulk production. During the masterclass, we were able to convince the engineers that Mifa can deliver precision extrusion in quantities from 10 kg upwards (see also the whitepaper Precision Extrusion) and that the resulting profiles are so precise that in many cases little or no final processing is required. The client is satisfied with the design and the result. And more assignments followed: the company has now given us five assignments for other parts too.
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