Polar explorer selects UK technology for micro-parts - Embedded.com

Polar explorer selects UK technology for micro-parts

WEYMOUTH, England — Tecan has produced two crucial parts for a specialised timepiece which has to withstand extreme temperatures at both the North and South Poles. The parts were commissioned for modern-day Polar explorer Jorgen Amundsen, a direct descendant of Roald Amundsen – the first man ever to set foot on the South Pole, December 14, 1911.

Employing specialised Photo ElectroForming (PEF) manufacturing technology, Tecan produced a multi-level back-plate for the watch face and a specialised multi-aperture grid overlay. Both parts combine aesthetics and functionality and are designed to cope with the extremes in temperature and the unusual polar light conditions where there is only one sunrise and one sunset per year.

The Nickel back-plate is manufactured in a single PEF process and is furnished with a series of complex and highly-accurate facets, such as mounting apertures, date display aperture, peripheral concentric enamelling recess, stepped rim location lugs, and a mock engine-turned central region to meet part of the aesthetic brief.

The second part, also in Nickel, is a web like grid which locates accurately over the back-plate and represents the lines of longitude emanating from the poles.

Jorgen Amundsen has combined his passion for exploration with his professional passion which involves his company, Amundsen Oslo, in the design and manufacture of high-performance luxury timepieces. His company has produced a limited 500 of the sub-zero 'Polar Timepiece' wrist watches.

He plans to conquer both the North Pole and the South Pole within a year, taking 250 of the timepieces to each Pole. The first half of his expedition was accomplished in April this year when he and his Arctic team successfully skied to the North Pole, where they buried one of the exclusive timepieces as a tribute to polar explorers past and present. He expects to complete his two-Pole project in December 2004 when his Antarctic expedition skies to the South Pole, where they will endeavour to repeat the feat.

During these arduous journeys, the watches will have to withstand temperatures, down to -45C at the North Pole and -50C at the South Pole.

Ultra-fine metal parts, fabricated to previously unheard of levels of accuracy and resolution can be manufactured for a number of applications. Other micro-applications include sensors, actuators, hearing aids, medical devices, optical instruments, micro-lenses, meshes, masks, displays and micro-fluidic devices.

Micro-parts can be manufactured with features, such as apertures, fluidic channels or raised lands, down to 2 microns and tolerances at sub-micron levels. Similarly, the company can produce larger parts, up to 600mm x 765mm, with equally fine resolutions.

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