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Production process of profiles

Optimisation of microscope motor housing

From a precision extrusion masterclass to a co-engineered profile, culminating in a microscope.

Mifa has been working for years with a leading German microscope manufacturer. After a masterclass on precision extrusion, the customer asked if we wanted to contribute to the development of a completely new product. In collaboration with their engineers and designers, a beautiful and functional profile was developed.

New insights thanks to a Mifa Masterclass

The microscope manufacturer is a familiar partner of Mifa. We have been producing a component for one of their microscopes for several years. However, it remained limited to this one part. Because we believed that we could offer more to each other, we organized a masterclass for their engineers. During this session, we explained the possibilities of extrusion. Key points included precision, the ability to produce small quantities, and design freedom in construction. The masterclass convinced the engineers that precision extrusion is a viable alternative or even the best solution for many designs. It immediately resulted in an inquiry.

The manufacturer is working on a new platform. It includes a drive mechanism for positioning a stage. The manufacturer asks us to propose a possible housing design. A part where multiple functionalities need to come together: cooling, precise assembly of the drive unit, easy placement of circuit boards, and ‘design’.




The optimal profile thanks to co-engineering

The original construction was the idea of an optimal extrusion according to the manufacturer. Unfortunately, this proposal was not feasible in terms of extrusion technology. We immediately came up with a counterproposal to split the part into two sections that could slide into each other. Based on this proposal, we entered into discussions with the engineers. It quickly became clear what the most essential aspects of the product were. With this knowledge, it was possible to create the optimal profile.

The second concept followed with the proposed changes, which already incorporated some typical precision extrusion “smart” features:

  • Half-opened screw channels to be incorporated during extrusion;
  • Connections for a cover profile;
  • Ribbed cooling fins to increase the surface area.

These are typical elements that are easily integrated into a profile during the extrusion process.

After a final discussion between engineers and designers, we ultimately arrived at the third and final design. This design is precise, stable, manufacturable in a single process, and meets all the customer’s requirements.

More about co-engineering

The complex points in the design

The design has several points that add extra complexity:

  • The round opening for the motor holder must be large enough to easily attach the motor. Additionally, a form-fitting contour must be achieved to create the largest possible contact surface for motor cooling.
  • Tolerances: Since it is an assembled product, coordination between tolerances of both profiles is necessary. Only a perfect interaction between tolerances ensures a usable end product.
  • The shape of the product: Because the product is asymmetrical, this negatively affects the straightness of the product during the extrusion process. To compensate for this, close collaboration was carried out with the mold supplier.

Benefits for the Customer:

Precision extrusion technology for this product had several advantages for the customer, with the top 3 being:

  • The ability to obtain small quantities: The customer initially ordered 100 products. This small quantity makes other alternative production processes too expensive. Processes like casting are not cost-effective for these quantities due to high mold costs (up to ten times the price of an extrusion mold).
  • Design freedom: Extrusion provides designers with a lot of freedom. Read more about it in the whitepaper Designing without Compromises.
  • One-stop-shop: After extrusion, the profile underwent machining (CNC) and black anodizing. All of these processes were handled by Mifa, delivering a ready-to-use product to the customer.
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Precision extrusion brings new insights

The designers of this client had not been thinking in terms of extrusions for a while. This was mainly due to the persistent prejudice that aluminium extrusion is only interesting for bulk production. In the masterclass, we were able to convince the designers that Mifa delivers precision extrusion in quantities starting from 10 kilograms and also provides profiles so accurate that post-processing is often not necessary anymore. The client is satisfied with the design and the result. It left them wanting more: the company has since entrusted us with five orders for other components.

More about precision extrusion

Get in touch with

Call or email Rick

Area Sales manager