Today´s fabrication methods for micro devices can require expensive tooling and long turnaround times, making empirical, performance-based modifications to the design expensive and time consuming. These methods also are limited in their flexibility, so that complex devices, that incorporate on-board valves, separation media, membranes, and recirculating pumps, cannot be developed and adapted without considerable expense in molds and assembly fixtures.
This creates a barrier to the development of medium to large series of complex and higher functionality devices, where the cost-benefit ratio of incorporating functionality is too risky for the typical laboratory, diagnostic or medical device developer. To bridge the gap between a high volume production with specialized equipment and a - until today - not efficient production of medium series, SME´s need to find other, more flexible and scalable approaches to produce microsystems in high volumes.
The solution proposed by SMARTLAM builds on a modular, flexible, scalable 3D-Integration scenario (3D-I), where novel polymer film materials will be combined with state of the art, scalable 3D printing, structuring and welding technologies. These technologies will be integrated in one production cell allowing for the production of complete 3D Microsystems. A 3D-Integration modeling environment will be set up to support users of the SMARTLAM environment by the design of 3D-I hardware compatible microsystems.
Besides the technological challenges SMARTLAM will demonstrate a complete business case. A SME company acting as OEM service provider will be responsible for “the real world” benchmarking and testing of the SMARTLAM production platform concept. To assess and demonstrate the potential of SMARTLAM, two SME demonstrator partners will take over the role of potential customers, both providing input as well as assessing the 3-DI approach regarding costs, technological capabilities and adaptiveness.