QMT News: May 2008
CECA hosts international precision assembly seminar

The fourth International Precision Assembly Seminar (IPAS) took place in Chamonix, France in February 2008 and was attended by over 70 industrialists and academics from across Europe, Japan and the USA.

The conference was organised by the University of Nottingham and EPFL, Switzerland and sponsored by EFAC, CIRP and IFIP.
The focus of the seminar was to discuss the rapidly evolving field of micro-assembly, including the development of microfactories and microsystem fabrication. The proceedings were published by Springer and 40 papers were presented at the conference identifying key challenges and developments in the areas of:

• Micro-Gripping Methods and Applications
• Assembly System Integration
• Micro-Metrology
• Methods and Solutions for Micro-Product Design
• Micro-Assembly Applications
• High Precision Positioning and Feeding Techniques
• Methods for Design for Micro-Assembly
• High Precision Packaging and Assembly Processes
• Process Modelling for Micro-Assembly

During the seminar, keynote presentations were also given by key industrialists and experts in the field of precision assembly. Mauricio de Campos Porath from Carl Zeiss discussed ‘High Precision Metrology for Micromechanical Parts’ and Markus Werro from Mikron presented ‘Innovation Trends in Europe’s Assembly Industry’. Further presentations were also given by Denis Bubendorf and Iván Calderón from Sysmelec SA who gave their views on ‘Collaborative and Anticipative Engineering in Assembly’. A research perspective on microrobotics was presented by Professor Bradley Nelson at ETH.

During day 3 of the conference, presentations and recent results were presented by the EU FP6 project ‘EUPASS’ – Evolvable Ultra Precision Assembly Systems with specific emphasis on the tools and environments necessary for the rapid reconfigurability of assembly systems. An additional presentation, "Precision Micro-Assembly - An Update from Japan", was given by Mr Jim Repko from AJ Industries USA, who market AJ Micro Machines in the US and Europe on behalf of Adept Japan and Adept US.

The seminar was also supported by the UK Centre of Excellence in Customised Assembly (CECA). The Centre, the only one of its kind in the UK, is a collaboration between the Universities of Nottingham, Sheffield and Loughborough and provides cost-effective assembly solutions for aerospace, defence, pharmaceutical/medical, device and niche automotive supply chains.

The seminar provided an excellent forum for industrial and research organisations to debate the current challenges and developments in manufacturing across Europe and within the USA and Japan. As a result of the seminar, new collaborations for research were developed and new project ideas formulated.
The next IPAS conference will take place from 14th – 17th February 2010. For further information contact: Ruth Strickland (Tel: +44 (0)115 9513743,

email: ruth.strickland@nottingham.ac.uk

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