SBIR Phase I: Integrating Electrical Flux Metrology with Third Party Machine tools for Precision On-board Measurements

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

SmalTec, International
1998 Ohio St., #200
Lisle, IL 60532
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will quantify the reliability of Electrical Flux Metrology (EFM) technology, compare its precision against existing state-of-the-art metrology processes, and verify the portability onto a third party machine tool. One of the greatest obstacles in machining micro-parts is inspection and verification. Prospective customers, partners and investors currently considering EFM technology do not have a measure for comparison that demonstrates how this new product will fit their process demands and portfolios. This project will (1) define a figure of merit for metrology standards with respect to precision and uncertainty. It will (2) directly compare the capabilities of EFM technology to the current state-of-the-art technologies of optical scanning and coordinate measurement machines. Finally, It will (3) integrate the EFM technology onto a third-party machine tool to verify the portability of the technology and determine how it alters the base figure of measurement. This is a non-contact and non-destructive in-situ metrology process, allowing parts machined on a platform to be measured and re-machined on the same platform. Comparing and integrating the EFM technology will verify the precision of this new technology. The result of this project will provide vital commercialization components and prove marketability. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is focused toward miniaturized products with micro-sized features and applications that are rapidly expanding in the medical, automotive, and aerospace industries. As an example, the minimally invasive medical products market, supported by micro-metrology, was a $19 Billion industry in 2011. One of the most challenging aspects to micro-manufacturing is inspection of machined features. New manufacturing and hybrid processes to improve throughput and reduce operator time and material waste are required and addressed with the EFM technology, an elegant on-board metrology solution for micro-parts. As the parts and features of parts get smaller, better metrology is required. The EFM technology allows features to be measured that were previously only possible through destructive testing. This technology will advance micro-manufacturing and allow for higher precision parts to be manufactured more effectively. The micro manufacturing market is desperately asking for improved metrology of small features. EFM technology will fill this void. The commercial potential for this product is significant and will create new manufacturing jobs. Companies, small and large, will integrate this technology directly into the manufacturing process flow. This technology will enhance the manufacturing of improved and advanced micro-parts and micro-features in products.