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Sustainability 2011, 3(12), 2456-2469; doi:10.3390/su3122456

Sustainable Micro-Manufacturing of Micro-Components via Micro Electrical Discharge Machining

Institute of Industrial Technologies and Automation, National Research Council (ITIA-CNR), Via Bassini 15, Milano 20133, Italy
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 October 2011 / Revised: 28 November 2011 / Accepted: 1 December 2011 / Published: 13 December 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Manufacturing)
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Micro-manufacturing emerged in the last years as a new engineering area with the potential of increasing peoples’ quality of life through the production of innovative micro-devices to be used, for example, in the biomedical, micro-electronics or telecommunication sectors. The possibility to decrease the energy consumption makes the micro-manufacturing extremely appealing in terms of environmental protection. However, despite this common belief that the micro-scale implies a higher sustainability compared to traditional manufacturing processes, recent research shows that some factors can make micro-manufacturing processes not as sustainable as expected. In particular, the use of rare raw materials and the need of higher purity of processes, to preserve product quality and manufacturing equipment, can be a source for additional environmental burden and process costs. Consequently, research is needed to optimize micro-manufacturing processes in order to guarantee the minimum consumption of raw materials, consumables and energy. In this paper, the experimental results obtained by the micro-electrical discharge machining (micro-EDM) of micro-channels made on Ni–Cr–Mo steel is reported. The aim of such investigation is to shed a light on the relation and dependence between the material removal process, identified in the evaluation of material removal rate (MRR) and tool wear ratio (TWR), and some of the most important technological parameters (i.e., open voltage, discharge current, pulse width and frequency), in order to experimentally quantify the material waste produced and optimize the technological process in order to decrease it.
Keywords: micro-manufacturing process; micro-electro-discharge machining micro-manufacturing process; micro-electro-discharge machining
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Modica, F.; Marrocco, V.; Copani, G.; Fassi, I. Sustainable Micro-Manufacturing of Micro-Components via Micro Electrical Discharge Machining. Sustainability 2011, 3, 2456-2469.

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