There is a growing need for ever-smaller mechanical and electro-mechanical components, not least in electronic products such as mobile phones, sensors, and hearing aids. Such products can be characterized by having critical dimensions less than one millimetre, in some cases even significantly less.
In the case of mechanical products, they must generally be kept within the tolerances so that, for example, a gear fits with a shaft. As products become smaller, it becomes significantly more difficult to determine whether they meet tolerances, and manufacturing processes become more difficult to control.
Micro products can be manufactured using either clean room technologies or traditional mechanical processes. Clean room technologies are used, for example, in the manufacture of computer chips, and can make extremely small and precise components. Traditional mechanical technologies such as milling or injection moulding are extremely challenged on precision when the dimensions become small.
A major challenge for the methods is quality assurance, especially in cases where the two manufacturing technologies mentioned above are combined. This challenge has now been solved with a method developed by Professor Hans Nørgaard Hansen. He is one of the leading researchers in the field, and he has just gathered his groundbreaking work in the doctoral dissertation titled: ‘Design and manufacturing of micro products—a framework based on process chains and metrology’.
Hans Nørgaard Hansen’s method makes it possible to further leverage the benefits of combining the two different manufacturing technologies for innovative product development. This is not least due to his use of extensive knowledge in metrology; the science of measurement and measurement techniques.
“My approach is a systematic review of the entire process behind the production of micro and nano products. That is, from the design phase through the production process, which is most often divided into several different steps, up to the final quality assurance,” says Hans Nørgaard Hansen.
“My focus has been on measurement and traceability. Even when the design is devised, you must consider how to assure quality and measure during the production process chains to ensure that, for example, the geometric requirements are met. It’s too late to find out when you have the finished product in your hand.”
Hans Nørgaard Hansens efforts has gained him great international attention and recognition. From 2015-2017, he was Chairman of EUSPEN, The European Society for Precision Engineering and Nanotechnology, and from August 2021 he will chair the largest international organization in the production field, CIRP, The International Academy for Production Engineering.
Hans Nørgaard Hansen has also helped highlight the importance of physical production in Denmark. Among other things, he has been one of the initiators of MADE, Manufacturing Academy of Denmark, which is a collaboration between Danish production companies and the universities’ latest research.
“It is gratifying that one of our talented professors has written a doctoral dissertation on the field of research he has pioneered over the past 20 years. Not least because this research has both provided a clear international footprint in the research world and has benefited Danish and foreign manufacturing companies,” says Anders Bjarklev, President of DTU.
For the past five years, Hans Nørgaard Hansen has been Head of DTU Mechanical Engineering. He has long wanted to write a doctoral dissertation, and with the corona crisis in 2020, he had time in his calendar to be able to finish the work.