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Micromachines 2017, 8(9), 273; doi:10.3390/mi8090273

A Novel Method and Mechanism for Micro-Sphere Singularization

1
Institute of Industrial Technologies and Automation, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Via A. Corti, 12, Milan 20133, Italy
2
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Brescia, Via Branze, 38, Brescia 25123, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 July 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 21 August 2017 / Published: 8 September 2017
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Abstract

The paper presents an innovative mechanism for the singularization of micro-spheres, which can be effectively employed in a diverse range of robotized applications in micro-electronics and micro-mechanics. Many miniaturized devices are currently being developed and consist of different micro-components to be precisely assembled. The demanding product and process requirements can be met by automating the assembly phases, which include sorting and feeding the micro-components. Therefore, accurate, high-throughput, and modular mechanisms and tools able to supply a number of micro-components, or even a single element for the subsequent operations, play a significant role. In this context, this work focused on the development of a novel strategy for separating a single component from an unstructured stock of identical parts, in particular of micro-spheres with diameters of 0.2–1 mm. Suitable expedients were considered to overcome the adhesive effects that can become significant at the micro-scale due to the very small size and low mass of the micro-spheres. The paper describes the operating principle and the actuation strategies of the mechanism. The design and the development of a prototype for singularizing micro-spheres with a diameter of 0.6 mm are thoroughly discussed. Finally, the results of experimental singularization tests demonstrate the method effectiveness and the mechanism performance. View Full-Text
Keywords: mechanism design; singularization; micro-sphere; sorting and feeding; micro-scaled device; micro-assembly mechanism design; singularization; micro-sphere; sorting and feeding; micro-scaled device; micro-assembly
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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Fontana, G.; Ruggeri, S.; Altissimo, L.; Legnani, G.; Fassi, I. A Novel Method and Mechanism for Micro-Sphere Singularization. Micromachines 2017, 8, 273.

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