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January 1, 2001

2 Min Read
The microsystems markets of tomorrow

Editor’s note: Market researchers at machinery OEM Dr. Boy GmbH (Neustadt, Germany),
parent company of Boy Machines Inc., have authored a paper entitled, “Micro Injection Molding: An Emerging Market in the 21st Century.” (For an initial report on Boy’s micromolding
machinery solution see “The Future of Injection Molding,” December 1998 IMM, p. 94.)

Over the past few years IMM has reported extensively on applications  in micromolding, but there is another level to this miniaturization. Microsystems take the scale of technology to a new level that provides new opportunities.     In its paper, Boy contrasts emerging microsystem technologies with micromolded parts—those that weigh less than 1g and measure a few centimeters in size. Microsystems use parts that measure only a few micrometers in size, interconnecting miniature sensors, signal processors, and actuators that can make decisions and react.     Miniaturization is said to save resources and cut piece prices. It also leads to a rise in production output, Boy adds, “since thousands, millions, or even billions of individual components can only be integrated efficiently into a system with a completely new performance and reliability.”     Boy researchers admit that much has to be done to inspire imagination and gain trust in microsystem technologies within the design community. Still, they expect the market to reach a volume of $37 billion in 2002 (see Table 1).
Markets that will be major players are automotive, IT, telecom, and medical. In automotive, Boy anticipates that virtually everything from the distance to vehicles in front of us to the air quality in the passenger compartment will be monitored by microsensors.      Extremely low micromolding manufacturing costs will prompt microsystem proliferation in active telecom lightguide components and in elements such as optical couplers, connectors, and switches. The medical market is also promising. For example, doses of liquid medication could be administered using miniaturized microdiaphragms and gear pumps. One German company has developed a CFC-free atomizer for asthma sufferers using microsystems—potentially a 100 million unitshttps://www.plasticstoday.com/year application.      Micromotors measuring only 1.9 mm in diameter also have been developed in Germany. These can be used in miniaturized endoscopes to drive ultrasonic transducers, as mini disk drives, or for driving the rapid movement of laser mirrors in the next generation of medical devices.Contact information
Boy Machines Inc.
Exton, PA
George Dallas
Phone: (610) 363-9121
Fax: (610) 363-0163
Web: www.boymachines.com

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