The first Taylor lunch lecture of this academic year was held on September 17th. This day the company PM Bearings came all the way from the small village of Dedemsvaart in the east of the Netherlands. Upon entering lecture hall B, I was amazed at the great turnout for what is this Taylor board’s very first event! Many faces, both familiar and new, were all eager to learn what PM Bearings is all about.
To start off we got introduced with the origin of the company. PM (Precisie Metaal or Precision Metals in English) was established in the 1960’s as a workshop manufacturing precision bearings. Since then it started growing rapidly and creating its own designs. These designs are mostly for both rotational as well as linear bearings that are used in the semiconductor, medical and optical industries. These are either picked out of a catalogue or designed custom to fit the requirements of their customers. All bearings are made in house, this includes the hardening and grinding of the bearing surfaces. These surfaces can be grinded up to 2 microns flat and parallel in the distance of 1 meter, very impressive!
One of the other activities that PM Bearings got involved in at a later stage is that of the actual design of high-tech systems. An example given in the lunch lecture was that of a high precision wafer stage for use in lithography machines. With all their years of experience in the manufacturing and application of high precision bearings, the decision was made to start and R&D department. Although this department of about 10 people is relatively small compared to the workforce of over 100 people working in the manufacturing plant, this does not affect their ambition. This small team has set out to develop a 3 DoF stage for demonstration and learning purposes in about one and a half years. For this great feat, a special type of engineer is needed; the High Tech Engineer. During the presentation multiple design aspects were shown. For each one a connection was made to one of the courses taught in our master, which was interesting to see and shows the real world application of the knowledge gathered at the TUDelft.
I personally really enjoyed the interesting presentation of PM Bearings and got more insight in their company.
By student Dirk Ulijn