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Miniaturisation & Plastronics

The products of the future will be more compact, lightweight and smarter than ever. However, their development – based on the use of the latest technologies – entails a wide range of challenges. In 2018, Sirris therefore launched the Product Development Hub, a meeting point for skills, knowledge and the latest technologies to guide the development of innovative physical products. Our experts help companies by supporting them in the rapid development of Industry 4.0-ready proofs of concept. An intensive collaboration between different specialist laboratories forming part of Sirris makes it possible to make smart micro-products from various materials. The options for using plastics and hybrid materials are also being explored.

The future of injection-moulded plastic electronic components

One of the areas where Sirris is active within the Product Development Hub is injection-moulded (“plastronic”) plastic components with built-in electronics. It also helps businesses with innovation in the same field. On 6 October, Sirris contributed to a digital event on the subject, organised by Plastiwin, the plastics cluster for Wallonia. This sectoral network is intended for industry and focuses on the development of various high value-added products and solutions based on plastics. This online meeting provided opportunities to discuss the future of plastics, in which electronics and plastic will become one, forming a new market with potential growth of 12-24% by 2024.

Initiative focusing on sustainable electronics

A consortium of universities and research centres in Wallonia is aiming at developing and offering to companies a  platform for innovative skills, combining microelectronics with data management. Using this new platform, the consortium intends to come up with answers to several issues faced by companies regarding the use of electronics, data acquisition, diagnostic systems, digitisation, etc. The objective of the initiative is to set up a research programme (ERDF 2021-2027) aimed at faster deployment of these new technologies for the benefit of Walloon industry, but also aimed at improving health and the environment in the region.

New platform for prototyping and production of microfluidic solutions

Sirris is constantly expanding its competencies and technological options in the prototyping of microfluidics equipment. Over the years, the collaborative centre has become a point of reference in Belgium, even in Europe, for the development of equipment such as lab-on-a-chip or microreactors for chemical processes or continuous flow pharmaceuticals.

To address academic and industrial needs even better, Sirris recently integrated a new platform with common resources for the prototyping and production of microfluidic solutions via microreplication using polymers (www.precisionmicromolding.be). Sirris has added to their Micro Lab a 3D micro-EDM milling station (Sarix), a world-class technology whereby steel can be processed at micrometric levels of detail and quasi-optic surface conditions.

Purchase of three high-tech installations as part of the Micro+ ERDF project

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding for the Micro+ project portfolio (Socle.Sirris) has enabled Sirris to expand the technology available at the Micro Lab, and to purchase three new high-tech machines:

  • A five-axis micro-milling centre: sub-micro-level resolution when positioning and the use of tools providing for the milling of 10 µm diameters allows for the processing of complex micro-workpieces in polymers and metals.
  • An ultrasound micro-casting centre: this original casting technology, at low pressure and ultra-accurate, ensures the production of mini- and micro parts in polymers that are very difficult to manufacture using conventional methods. This is mainly due to the option of building very thin walls.
  • A multi-scale micro-3D printing platform: Sirris can announce a world first: this is the first time that DLP micro stereolithography apparatus (SLA) with high resolution and multiphoton polymerisation (MPP) have been brought together in a single 3D printing platform. It can be used to print 3D elements measuring a few centimetres to details of only a few microns in resins that can be biocompatible.

hese three machines are presented in the video