Mikron Technology Group is offering innovative solutions to the automotive fuel injection technology sector Switzerland-based Mikron Technology Group is one of the world's leading suppliers of high-productivity manufacturing and assembly solutions. The group is made up of two divisions - Mikron Machining Technology and Mikron Assembly Technology. The company, which caters to customers from fields like automotive, medical technology, writing instruments and electric/electronics industries, specialises in tools for the fuel injection industry, which is largely driven by newer technologies like common-rail diesel fuel injection. In fact, the increasing demand for lower costs of ownership is the reason why half the European car market is now diesel-powered. The resulting development of common rail pump technology has transformed the image of the diesel engine from being noisy and dirty to one that is a highly efficient and state-of-the-art power source. The common-rail injection technology has spurred new levels of production expertise in machine tool technology and applications. The development and production engineering of common-rail diesel systems is also applied to direct injection gasoline engines, which are now able to provide up to 20 per cent improvement in economy over conventional engines. Says Markus Schnyder, managing director of Mikron Machining Technology: "Fuel injection for both diesel and petrol engines is a very demanding technology sector with its associated design and development, as well as machining, constantly pushing the boundaries of production engineering knowledge to meet the ever-tightening legislation." Markus heads the Mikron operation that has become the world leader in the supply of machining technology to the fuel injection business. Mikron Machining Technology, with a third of its machine tool sales in fuel injection and more than Ã‚Â350 production units installed around the world is at the forefront of rapidly developing levels of sophistication. However, unlike other machine tool suppliers it is able to combine both machine tool and tooling expertise. "With the 'micron' being the reference point for measurement, machine tool building has progressed to such a level that it satisfies the daily talk of production people that involves tolerances that were purely in the dreams of designers and quality engineers just a decade or so ago." The fuel injection industry formerly demanded dedicated machine tools, largely volume hungry rotary and in-line transfer machines and special purpose equipment tooled for the life of the product. Today, the market has changed. Flexibility is so important; what's needed is the ability to ramp production up and down according to market demands, to provide in-built capability for re-tooling for new developments and being able to modify processes to achieve even greater levels of productivity to thus meet cost-down and performance improvement demands. With its burgeoning role as a solutions provider, Mikron Machining Technology has progressively built a knowledge bank of machining requirements, often working with customers on simultaneous engineering projects, where development and production techniques are run together to shorten lead times. As a result, the company has created a core machine range able to be creatively and practically tooled for production according to the volume, productivity and levels of flexibility required. The Mikron Transfer Systems offer the right machine for every application. The Mikron machine range covers the CNC in-line, but modular and highly flexible Multistep. An expandable linear transfer machine, with chip-to-chip-time less than 1 second, which is able to incorporate five-axis simultaneous operations enabling 5Ã‚Â½ face production of small and medium batch runs of parts, such as housing and injector bodies, without reclamping a single cycle. The Multistar rotary indexing machine with 24 stations can incorporate up to 44 spindle units and is able to produce parts such as nozzles from a solid blank at a rate of up to 600 per hour. Then there's the mechanically driven Multifactor, typically used for nozzle bodies, spacers, sleeves, barrels and pistons and able to be fitted with up to 3-axis CNC stations for added flexibility. The Mikron NRG-50 is a 12-station rotary transfer machine with totally 96 tools on board that at its launch in 2005 set a new benchmark for accuracy, thanks to the ATS System while being highly flexible with up to 140 axes. It has the ability to cut with 30 tools simultaneously on all surfaces with any angle of a component in a single cycle. The Mikron NRG-50 is indeed a machine tool development that is right at the forefront of production technology. While all the systems of Mikron Machining Technology can be tailored to suit material characteristics, hard or soft, another major advantage the company can offer to the fuel injection industry is input from its sister company, Mikron Tool, which is a highly specialised operation and has the ability to develop cutting tools such as drills, endmills and form tools in conjunction with the application engineering and machine tool build teams. As a result, not only can high levels of productivity and tool life be tuned into production, but also the development of precise tooling geometry, ensures that precision, tool life and process security is perfectly transposed from the machine tool platform into the workplace.