Innovative production processes and strategies from batch production to high volume scale are playing a decisive role in generating microsystems economically. In particular assembly processes are crucial operations during the production of microsystems. Due to large batch sizes many microsystems can be produced economically by conventional assembly techniques using specialized and highly automated assembly systems. At laboratory stage microsystems are mostly assembled by hand. Between these extremes there is a wide field of small and middle sized batch production wherefore common automated solutions rarely are profitable. For assembly processes at these batch sizes a flexible automated assembly system has been developed at the iwb. It is based on a modular design. Actuators like grippers, dispensers or other process tools can easily be attached due to a special tool changing system. Therefore new joining techniques can easily be implemented. A force-sensor and a vision system are integrated into the tool head. The automated assembly processes are based on different optical sensors and smart actuators like high-accuracy robots or linear-motors. A fiber optic sensor is integrated in the dispensing module to measure contactless the clearance between the dispense needle and the substrate. Robot vision systems using the strategy of optical pattern recognition are also implemented as modules. In combination with relative positioning strategies, an assembly accuracy of the assembly system of less than 3 μm can be realized. A laser system is used for manufacturing processes like soldering.
At the Belgian institute IMEC techniques for the production of electrically conductive atomic force microscope (AFM) probes are developed. To facilitate handling of the fragile probes, holder chips are required. The assembly of such holder chips, which can be split up into the application of solder paste, the positioning of the holder chip and the soldering of the chip, is a crucial manufacturing step, that, until now, was performed manually for economic reasons. With the help of a modular micro assembly tool, developed by the Institute for Machine Tools and Industrial Management (iwb) of the Technische Universitaet Muenchen, an economical automated assembly of the holder chips was developed. Thanks to our integrated sensor technology, even the automated assembly onto the extremely fragile membranes of moulded AFM probes was possible. In particular, the dispensing process of the solder paste onto the membranes was improved by the integration of a non-contact sensor for the needle clearance.
Assembly is a crucial process during the production of microsystems. Especially automated and economic assembly of flip- chip at small and medium batch sizes is not solved at the moment in industry. For flexible and economic assembly of standard and flip-chip elements a tool was developed, which makes it possible to assemble MOEMS with an accuracy of less than 8 micrometers by a standard industrial robot. This is done by integrating a fine positioning drive and sensors into the tool. Moreover, a special optics module for the assembly of flip-chip elements was developed, which can be used in different positioning devices in a manual and automatic modus.