Micro-factory for Miniaturization, Portability and Remote Production

Period of Performance: 12/05/2007 - 06/04/2009


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Microlution, Inc.
4038 N Nashville Ave
Chicago, IL 60634
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
600 S Mathews
Urbana, IL 61801
Institution POC


During Phase I, the authors extended the development work for an automated microfactory that began with a prototype developed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005 as part of a grant from the US Army Aviation and Missile Command. The prototype provided proof-of-concept for important microfactory technologies, and revealed gaps between the state-of-the-art and the Navy microfactory requirements listed in the solicitation. Phase I efforts addressed technical challenges in modularity, mass-production, micro-assembly, in-situ metrology, portability and ruggedness. Processes, design tools and proof-of-concept prototypes will be developed during Phase II for micro-assembly, metrology, modular material handling, micro hard-turning, advanced kinematic coupling pallet systems, environmental control, incoming material processing and cleaning and post processing. During the Phase II Option, these systems will be specialized for the particular ball-bearing application associated with the microfactory DoD customer. The result of Phase II and the Option will be the production of a microfactory system that is both deployable for on-site, rapid-response production of high-value defense applications and commercially viable for a broad range of non-defense applications. The system will be tested and demonstrated, achieving Technology Readiness Level 7 and leading shortly to widespread commercialization.