It's a shining example of technology's evolution in a photograph from the 1940s, you can see Holly Hanson’s father next to an analog computer. Some sixty years later, his daughter stands beside the first practical, table top micro machine.
"We're taking all the principles of machining bigger parts to see how we have to change those to produce micro parts," says Micro Machines International President Holly Hanson.
Since September, Micro Machines International has been machining a number of small parts for businesses in our region...and working on art to part applications.
"Art to Part means if you have a drawing of a part, we can actually program the tool path and end up making a part. So what we've actually done in some applications is just take a digital photograph off a website and produce a part with the same geometry," says Hanson.
Manufactured parts--some so small they can fit on the tip of Lincolns nose on a penny--have endless commercial applications including a powerful impact on the medical field...
"For small pumps for delivering medications or insulin...very tiny parts. If you have anything implanted in you, you'd like it to be as small as possible, so the smaller we can make the part, the smaller the pump, and the less invasive in your body," says Hanson.
Hononegah High School seniors Eric Lamont and Eric Anderson are interning for MMI.
"This is where the industry is going--right now when they're miniaturizing parts, the machines haven't been miniaturized, but this is the size of a bread box," says Anderson.
And Hanson is hoping, that one day, Rockford will be known for micro-machining..
"Everything being made smaller, lighter, smaller and minituarized. So if Rockford became the micro-machining capital of the world, we could re-employ all of the skilled people in the area," says Hanson.
Hanson says some customers are exploring buying their own machines, once MMI proves their parts can be made at the micro level...
To learn more about micro machines international, visit www.micromachinesinternational.com..