Additive Manufacturing and Miniaturization – The Convergence of Major Trends

Combining additive manufacturing and miniaturization hasn’t been a cost-effective reality until recently. Many industries that rely on highly precise, small parts, such as electronics, medical devices, and microfluidics, realize the benefits of this convergence.

Additive Manufacturing (AM), or 3D Printing, has been around now for over 30 years.  For a long time, only a few technologies were available, and applications were generally limited to prototyping.  However, in recent years, a new wave of innovation and use has emerged, extending beyond engineering and design into short and medium-scale production applications.  The AM market is now estimated to be $10B per year with continued strong growth forecasted.

Miniaturization is the trend to manufacture even smaller mechanical, optical and electronic products, medical devices, and other high-value parts. This trend continues to be strong, with year-over-year growth in many markets.

One limiting factor to miniaturization is the inability of traditional manufacturing methods like injection molding and CNC machining to effectively and economically produce smaller and smaller parts.  Past advances in AM have come short in meeting these needs. Additive manufacturing and miniaturization are now converging – in a significant and impactful way. 

We are thrilled to announce the global launch of Boston Micro Fabrication (BMF). BMF is focused on addressing high-value parts requiring ultra-high resolution, accuracy, and precision, down to the microscale (resolution of 2µm-50µm and a printing tolerance of +/- 5-25 µm). Our technology is called Projection Micro Stereolithography, or PµSL. PµSL has been developed by a number of entities in the past few years, led by one of our founders, Dr. Nick Fang, a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT.

BMF was founded in 2016 by Dr. Fang along with Dr. Xiaoning He and Dr. Chunguang Xia.  A team was assembled in Shenzhen, China, to do further development and productization. First customers received the platform in Asia starting at the end of 2018.  The results and customer reviews have been excellent. The microArch platform has provided customers parts that they previously could never have been produced using 3D printing. The resolution, accuracy, and precision are at levels consistent with the best of micro-injection molding and micro-machining.

We are now proud to announce the availability of our product globally. We have set up offices in Singapore, Boston, Shenzhen and Tokyo, and London.

If you are interested in seeing how additive manufacturing and miniaturization converge, or if you would like to request a demo or a benchmark part, please contact us!