Monday, March 4, 2024

Micrometric Celebrates 40 Years of Laser Material Processing

Lincoln-based manufacturing firm Micrometric is continuing to lead the way in micro laser manufacturing and multi-process services during its 40th year of business.

With this special anniversary, Micrometric is reflecting on the evolution of services it provides in a range of sectors including medical, aerospace and automotive.

Founded by Maurice Gates and Neil Main, Micrometric began by cutting sheet metal using innovative CO2 lasers in January 1983 and had a turnover of only £50 in its first month, but this soon started growing.

Main, who is Micrometric’s managing director, remembers contracts that changed the company’s services: “We were asked by the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell if we could make radiation sensors for detecting alpha radiation.

“They needed small rectangles cutting with each having a unique letter, number and error code. At that time our competitors were not able to do this, so we rose to the challenge and successfully output the parts using the large CO2 laser (DE) and BBC Micro.”

From left to right, Chris Waters, Rosie De Smit and Neil Main standing outside the Micrometric building
From left to right, Chris Waters, Rosie De Smit and Neil Main standing outside the Micrometric building

By 1990, Micrometric was a precision laser processor, and several industries were asking them to make parts: electronics, gas turbines, food manufacturers and medical.

Most medical items were for instrumentation but Micrometric was asked to make one part for a prostate cancer remover.

In 1994, the company moved into a new purpose-built factory on Doddington Road, Lincoln. With more space, Micrometric invested in new advanced lasers including its first Bystronic which was fast, flexible and precise.

After Main purchased Micrometric in 2004, he faced a great challenge: the biggest customer bought its own laser. Company revenue declined, and it resulted in redundancies. Recovery took a while before Micrometric was able to invest in new equipment.

However, technological advances meant that new lasers were state-of-the-art and Micrometric was able to produce better quality components quicker with a higher-skilled workforce.

Over the past five years, Micrometric has invested in new equipment to meet demand for precision components, including the Coherent Starcut tube cutting machine which works with extremely high precision, and a new Lasercube machine which delivers on quality and efficiency.

These developments will allow the team to continue producing high-quality components for multiple industries.

A hydraulic filter used in aircraft systems, a great example of the small holes Micrometric can drill
A hydraulic filter used in aircraft systems, a great example of the small holes Micrometric can drill

Micrometric specialises in the production of fine parts and precision components, cutting a range of materials as thin as 0.05mm.

It was this expertise that was required when a leading UK-based Formula One team approached them regarding a job to cut thin shims when it had struggled find a company to cut the very thin tolerances required on a tight turnaround.

When looking forward, Main is positive: “We have seen so much change in just the last three years, but customers are still asking for new parts and processes.

“We are always looking for new ways of expanding our services so there is huge potential for growth in the automotive, aerospace and medical sectors.”

Micrometric is AS9100D certified and is a member of the Midlands Aerospace Alliance (MAA), The Manufacturers’ Organisation (MAKE UK), Association of Industrial Laser Users (AILU), The Welding Institute (TWI) and Motorsport Industry Association (MIA).

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