Project: Scalable and Reconfigurable Systems for Microassembly and Quality Inspection

The goal of the REMIQUA project is to develop a modular and multifunctional platform specifically designed for the assembly and testing of microsystems. The performance of this platform will be evaluated and demonstrated using an industrial application: the small-series assembly and characterisation of 50 micro touch probes. With the help of this application, all functionalities of the REMIQUA platform will be demonstrated and tested, among which are: (i) Flexible handling and assembly of microparts, (ii) mechanical characterization of assembled microsystems and (iii) achievable throughputs._x000D__x000D_The results of this project will enable industry to keep pace with the increasing hybridisation of microsystems. The objective is to cut assembly costs significantly, with the longer-term goal to reduce them by 50% while at the same time significantly increasing the yield and the throughput. Flexibility and reconfigurability are the key words to reach this goal._x000D__x000D_[Figure 1: Project concept and technical work packages (Annex)]_x000D__x000D_REMIQUA’s approach is market-driven. Requirements of applications from industry will define the specifications of the tools to be developed. Depending on the application the components can be selected from a toolbox and integrated into so-called REMIQUA platforms for microassembly and quality inspection (Figure 1). This modular approach ensures that a variety of applications with completely different requirements can be realised—including flexibility and versatility for future applications._x000D__x000D_The advantages of the proposed REMIQUA concept are:_x000D__x000D_Improved performance:_x000D_- smaller size_x000D_- higher resilience for external perturbations (temperatures, vibration)_x000D_- higher positioning accuracy_x000D_- higher reliability through integrated quality inspection_x000D__x000D_Improved productivity:_x000D_- sophisticated user interfaces (haptic device, virtual reality)_x000D_- fast reconfigurability and high flexibility_x000D__x000D_Improved flexibility:_x000D_- rapid adaptation to customer and market demands_x000D__x000D_Reduced energy consumption:_x000D_- low energy consumption_x000D_- small clean room_x000D__x000D_New developments in microtechnology lead to ever-smaller products and make new functionalities available. Although it is aspired to fabricate these products in one single process, several assembly steps are often needed especially when different materials are used. Today the production costs of microsystems—and here especially the assembly costs—represent 60% to 80% of the costs of the final product and clearly show the potential for cost savings. Additionally, the production equipment for microsystems is usually composed of costly and bulky machines that have disproportionate dimensions compared to the final product. While this is acceptable for high-volume production, small-series production requires new microassembly and testing devices with reduced dimensions as well as greater flexibility and reconfigurability. The reduced investment costs for this kind of equipment will make it affordable for a greater number of large companies and SMEs._x000D__x000D_In the REQUIMA project microassembly will be approached from the perspective of industrial prototyping and small-series production. New microhandling tools, such as microgrippers and tools changers, will have to be developed. There is a special need for new miniaturised force sensors and their integration into the assembly system. Control aspects have also to be improved in order to increase speed, precision and reliability. Position and force sensor information will have to be integrated directly into the control for the system to respond quickly. New inspection tools for controlling the quality of the products also have to be developed._x000D__x000D_Current tools developed in research institutes are only usable by highly qualified operators. The transfer of this technology requires drastically improving the ergonomics of the microassembly system: Going from microassembly for specialists to microassembly for operators. The approach of the project is to propose ergonomic tools that minimise the training required for the operator. By fostering the development of standardised and modular procedures and tools for microassembly with increased reliability and reproducibility, manufacturing of microsystems will become more affordable and profitable, especially for SMEs._x000D__x000D_Due to the complexity and the diversity of the required technologies, the objectives of this project can only be achieved by combining the expertise of the four selected Ps. The two SMEs PERCIPIO and ALEMNIS are active in the field of microassembly and materials testing respectively. The two research institutes CSEM and ISIR complement the expertise required to achieve the ambiguous project goals in the fields of force sensor development and control. All four Ps together have the knowledge and experience to bring forward microsystem assembly and quality inspection by jointly developing the components for the REMIQUA project and bring them to market.

Acronym REMIQUA (Reference Number: 7313)
Duration 01/11/2012 - 31/03/2015
Project Topic REMIQUA aims at developing modular and versatile systems for microassembly and quality inspection. Providing flexible tools for prototyping and small-series production of hybrid microsystems it will enable to bring down costs and considerably improve the ergonomics of microhandling in industry.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The REMIQUA projects led us to develop a new kind of microgripper, more suitable for industrial micro-assembly with the help of an innovative tool-changer and integrate it in a robotic platform dedicated to precise assembly of small series of high added value products. Collaboration with Ps enable exchange of key technology to enhance our initial industrial offer, by integrated force sensing during assembly, and then haptic control of the robotic system.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 8

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
4 Percipio Robotics S.A. Partner France
4 Alemnis GmbH Coordinator Switzerland
4 Centre Suisse d' Electronique et de Microtechnique Partner Switzerland
4 Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris 6 Partner France