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Founded in 1991, Mikros initially designed and developed systems to cool the electronics in the first iteration of the International Space Station, and the astronauts inside. This included two key platforms: a micronozzle set that provided two-phase cooling electronics, and a single-phase water system and microchannels to cool the crew’s cabin. Those eventually evolved into Mikros’ current business segments.
Today, Mikros provides highly customized, high efficiency cooling for the electronics that are doing extremely heavy processing. These are typically in areas like data centers, artificial intelligence systems, high-heat lasers, and renewable energy inverters.
Mikros: What They’re Doing with DATRON
On the microchannel side, Mikros uses their DATRONs to create prototypes in support of their mission to provide more customized solutions to high-profile customers, faster.
Mikros currently uses a number of DATRON neos in-house, focused on developing assemblies for microchannel liquid cooling. To protect their intellectual property and optimize their workflow, Mikros typically handles all design, prototyping, testing, and fabrication for these assemblies in-house.
Mostly working in copper, with some aluminum and stainless steel, they use the neo on assemblies and prototypes as small as 4mm wide, or as large 300mm wide. They like the neo because they needed a precision mill—and a high-speed spindle—to create their prototypes, and they need to keep their metal extremely clean. Since DATRON machines use ethanol as coolant, the parts come out of the machine clean and dry, which is a distinct advantage over conventional flood coolants. This means that prototype post-processing and cycle times are greatly reduced.
“DATRONs are user friendly enough that we can train people who are not machinists to operate the neos.”
Drew Matter (Product Development Manager, Mikros Technologies)
In addition, Mikros values the neo’s small footprint, fast tool change speed, and the ground-breaking interface, next control.
The DATRON next control is helpful because Mikros wants to cross-train their assembly staff as much as possible. The DATRON neo and next control allow an assembly worker to take a part and walk it through nearly the entire process. They can take a raw piece of copper and work through their entire prototyping process without waiting for a machinist to intervene. The DATRON allows more of Mikros’ workforce to participate in machining, which helps the entire area operate more efficiently.
In addition to this, Mikros is beginning to automate the neos using robots that will load and operate several machines at once. This is made easier because of DATRON’s smaller footprint. The neo’s small footprint lets them put more machines together, reducing robot travel time. The smaller size also means they’re easier to access and maintain.