Acquandas and Goodfellow partner to provide miniaturised components

Goodfellow and Acquandas have formed a partnership to offer device manufacturers micro-patterned, 2D and 2.5D integrated multi-function miniaturised components and coatings.

The thin film technology is produced by Acquandas in a range of materials including Nitinol (NiTi) and other superelastic or shape memory alloys, bioresorbable alloys, magnetic materials, electrical alloys and insulators. The materials are claimed to overcome the problems and limitations of existing miniaturised components and are suited to applications in healthcare among other industries.

According to Acquandas, it can batch manufacture the thinnest film based NiTi ‘smart alloy’ metallic components currently available. NiTi metallic components have been successfully produced by the Acquandas team at sub 80µm miniaturisation levels down to as thin as 5µm with feature resolution of 1 to 10µm and with a high level of purity. The purity of the Acquandas NiTi film results in enhanced fatigue endurance capabilities of its shape memory alloy thin films that are said to be able to perform at least 10million transformation cycles without any changes in functional behaviour.

Acquandas’ microsystem technology and techniques incorporate three key process interfaces: UV-lithography, magnetron sputtering and wet chemical etching, with final stages of the production process being heat treatment and shape setting. Two thin film fabrication modes are available to cover both initial product development and full scale manufacturing.

Acquandas thin film technology based components are said to offer device manufacturers benefits in design scope, performance and product capabilities. Complex, next generation miniaturised smart devices can now be cost effectively developed and batch manufactured with higher mechanical properties, increased integrated device functionality and a longer service life.

Application opportunities are currently under development in healthcare to manufacture the next generation of self–expanding, biocompatible and bioresorbable implant devices and intelligent medical instruments. This miniaturised technology is also being increasingly applied in defence, aerospace, automotive, telecommunications, test equipment and manufacturing automation applications.Examples of industrial applications include the use of shape memory alloy based electrical actuators for robotic applications and latest MEMS technology to manufacture miniaturised electronic relays, position sensing linear actuators, micro relays, micro valves and micro pumps.

Tom Austin-Morgan

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