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Another fine mesh!

05 October 2011

Single-part meshes and grids for a wide range of applications are proven to be cost effective alternatives to their woven wire mesh counterparts. In the majority of cases they provide superior performance, tailored to the specific application and size and shape requirement. When used in charged applications such as RFI shielding, they offer enhanced conductivity by having no cross-over areas and facilitate far easier electrical termination, by having integrated bus bars.

Manufactured by photo chemical etching or electroforming, these meshes are characterized by their consistent cross-sectional thickness and accurate aperture shapes / sizes. Being manufactured in a single piece they are not only slimmer, but have greater integrity, making them more robust during handling.

Precision Micro has now raised the bar in precision metal mesh production with the introduction of LEEF (Laser Evolved ElectroForming) technology. The process uses Laser Direct Imaging in combination with precision electroforming, to produce high accuracy meshes in a single additive process, without the need for any physical tooling.

A great benefit of the LEEF process is that it can produce far finer features than conventional photo etching or indeed photo electroforming. The process can produce precision bespoke grids / meshes with high aspect ratios… generating thinner bars, down to <20µm in thicker materials.

With higher open area ratios than their woven counterparts, the shape of LEEF meshes can be simple or complex.  This enables designers to produce components to suit the application rather than designing the application to suit the shape of the mesh.

“LEEF is a high precision manufacturing process that doesn’t depend on costly glass masters or in fact, any physical tooling,” says Anthony Marrett, managing director of Precision Micro. “We now have a high precision, repeatable process that can make single or multiple piece parts in a very efficient manner, which is reducing our customers’ costs.”

LEEF grids / meshes are low stress, burr free, dimensionally consistent and free of optical distortion. Available in both nickel and copper, they tend to have a shiny and matt side, but optional blackening is available to reduce reflections in optical applications.

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