This international technology assessment study has focused on the emerging global trend toward the miniaturization of manufacturing processes, equipment and systems for microscale components and products, i.e., "Small Equipment for Small Parts." It encompasses the creation of miniaturized units or hybrid processes integrated with metrology, material handling and assembly to create microfactories capable of producing microprecision products in a fully automated manner at low cost. The study has investigated both the state-of-the-art as well as emerging technologies from the scientific, technological, and commercialization perspectives across key industrial sectors in the USA, Asia and Europe including medical, electronics, aerospace, and consumer products. This study does NOT include the lithographic-based processes common to the microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) community. While the US gets high marks for nanotechnology R&D, emphasis in the US on micromanufacturing R&D is lagging behind the rest of the world, particularly in technology transfer and ongoing development. This will undoubtedly have serious long-term implications.
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