Non-Conventional Technologies Selection: A Holistic Economic Assessment Applied to Micro-Manufacturing

Non-Conventional Technologies Selection: A Holistic Economic Assessment Applied to Micro-Manufacturing

Paulo Peças (Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal), Pedro Dias Pereira (Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal), Inês Inês Ribeiro (Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal) and Elsa Henriques (Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 32
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6161-3.ch001

Abstract

Micro-engineering is nowadays a key industrial area with applications is a wide range of products and sectors. The need for a multiplicity of products fostered the development of several processes and combinations of processes in the world of micro-engineering. There are different feasible alternatives to produce the same kind of product. The manufacturing cost is usually the decision factor to select the best alternative among them. But cost is affected by dozens of factors and if not properly modelled causes controversy in so complex decisions. In this chapter, the application of process-based cost modelling is proposed as the engine to identify the best performance spaces for each alternative, using its potential for sensitive analysis of uncertain and/or critical parameters. To illustrate the approach, a case study is developed analyzing four alternatives for the production of a light diffuser with micro-features imbibed, involving micro-injection molding, hot-embossing, micromachining, and powder-injection molding.
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Introduction

Brief Chapter Overview

Micro-engineering is nowadays a key industrial area with applications in a wide range of products and sectors. The need for a multiplicity of products fostered the development of several processes combining different technologies in the realm of micro-engineering, from the Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) based technologies to the Energy Assisted and Mechanical Processes. Usually, the first step of technology selection is the physical processes capability to accomplish the desired micro-shape(s). The second step is the selection of the most adequate process (or combination of processes) usually based on the individual performance (e.g. using target costing for the economic performance) and/oron comparative analysis of alternatives (e.g.conventional vs. non-conventional technologies). In this chapter the application of process-based cost modelling (PBCM) is proposed to support an informed decision making during the second step mentioned, by integrating the technology relations of each alternative process with i) the cost factors and ii) the production scenario and context, allowing the identification of the best performance spaces for each alternative. A holistic economic assessment approach is used taking into account technological limitations, uncertainty on specific parameters and different industrial environments. The PBCM models are build up and the subsequent sensitivity analyses is structured assuring its adequacy to compare and understand the economical behavior of technologies that are already implemented in companies and the ones that are under development and/or giving the first steps, which is frequently the case of the non-conventional technologies. To illustrate the approach a case study is developed analyzing four alternatives for the production of a plastic light diffuser with micro-features imbibed, being used micro-injection molding and micro-hot embossing for the plastic part production and also micro-milling and powder-injection molding (PIM) for the mold production. Therefore, this chapter demonstrates the pertinence of using PBCM for technology selection in the realm of micro-engineering and gives also a contribution to the fields of micro-injection molding, micro-hot embossing and micro-milling by an holistic comparison of the economic performance of these processes.

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