Invited Research Lecture: Developments in Manufacturing 3-Dimensional Microparts

Date: 06 Oct 2010 - 06 Oct 2010

Venue: SIMTech Auditorium, Tower Block, Level 3

This lecture is co-organised by Photo Chemical Machining Institute (PCMI). Professor David Allen from School of Applied Science, Cranfield University will share his views on the manufacturing of 3D complex microparts through machine and process innovation.


Surprising as it may seem, the development of microfluidics is closely related to that of microelectronics.  Silicon evolved as the material of choice for microelectronics as it was an easy-to-source semiconductor that could be batch processed in the 2-D wafer format using planar technologies involving photoresists and etching of silicon oxide/nitride films.  Later silicon developments incorporated not only microelectronic functions but also mechanical functions to produce MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) devices by etching cavities into the silicon wafer itself.  As the concept of microfluidics developed, it was natural that researchers should use silicon micromachining as the enabling technology to manufacture microvalves, micropumps and microflow sensors.  However, from the 1990s, microfabrication has been moving towards polymer processing with significant advantages in optical transparency, lower production costs as a result of replication techniques and the ability to build structures in the third dimension. This suggests that the development of 3-D microparts is an important aspect of future micromanufacturing strategy.  The EPSRC-funded Grand Challenge project “3-D Mintegration” will be highlighted in this talk to demonstrate the potential of novel microfluidic designs and the fabrication of microfluidic devices from polymers.  In addition, 3D-micromachining and a combination of ink jet resist printing and etching will be discussed as optional cost-effective techniques for production of next-generation 3-D microparts.

About the Speaker
Professor David Allen started his career as a chemist and moved into photochemistry research while studying at Cardiff University. Following post-doctoral research at Warwick University and imaging technology development in industry, David joined Cranfield University in 1976 and was appointed as a Technical Liaison Member to the USA-based Photo Chemical Machining Institute (PCMI) in 1981. He has a strong research background in polymer microfluidic manufacturing techniques. He is currently on the Board of Directors of PCMI. David became Professor of Microengineering at Cranfield University in 1998 and was elected as a Fellow of The International Academy for Production Engineering in 2006.  David is currently an investigator on three major research projects, namely:

  • EPSRC Research Grant “The Design and Manufacture of 3D Miniaturised Integrated Products” (3D-Mintegration) (£1.2m)
    • FP7 large scale integrating project “New Production Technologies of Complex 3D Micro-devices through Multi-process Integration of Ultra Precision Engineering Techniques” (Integ-micro) (€555k)
    • IKC Research Grant “Development of Cost-effective Multi-axis Micromachining System” (£503k)

10.45am    Registration
11.00am    Prof. David Allen's Lecture
12.00pm    Q&A / Networking

Who Should Attend
Precision engineering professionals, R&D managers, researchers and academic staff and students. 

Registration for this lecture is free of charge. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contact Us
For technical enquiries: Dr Wang Zhenfeng, Tel: 6793 8596; Email:

For general enquiries: Alice Koh, Tel: 6793 8249; Email: