UPM was set up in 2006 as a research based company specialising in the field of ultra precision machinery. The research work has been focussed on reducing the motion error of critical machine elements such as linear slides, rotary tables and spindles. With this as an objective and working in close collaboration with leading European Universities engaged in manufacturing research, UPM has been successful in winning research funding to develop a number of new and innovative products.
In 2006 funding was received from the European Commission under the FP6 programme to develop a 5 axis micro milling machine as part of the MASMICRO project, http://www.masmicro.net. The project was led by Strathclyde University http://www.strath.ac.uk/dmem/research/researchunits/ufg/micro-manufacturingtechnology/ and involved a total of 36 European institutions industrial partners. The machine was built in collaboration with Brunel University, http://www.brunel.ac.uk/sed/amee.
Its novel feature was the complete elimination of conventional drive components such as gears, belts, pulleys, lead screws and couplings. The machine used electronic drives on all 5 axes to achieve outstanding control over axis position and smoothness of motion.
In 2008 UPM was awarded a research grant from the South West Regional Development Agency to develop a new type of air bearing overcoming the basic limitations of conventional orifice compensated air bearings when used in ultra precision machinery. The micro recessed bearing has embedded features in the bearing surfaces to gain control over the air pressure distribution enabling bearing clearances to be reduced to achieve higher static stiffness, lower air consumption and lower motion errors.
The latest award, in 2009, was from the European Commission under the FP7 programme to develop an intelligent control system as part of the ConTemp project, http://www.contemp.org. The overall aim being to develop internally cooled tools and to control their operating temperature. This is a collaborative project led by the Technical University of Berlin http://www.iwf.tu-berlin.de/fachgebiet_werkzeugmaschinen_und_fertigungstechnik/menue/forschung/laufende_projekte/contemp_project/project_partners/ involving a total of 8 European partners.
As a result of the early research work UPM is now launching a range of new products utilising electronic drives and micro recessed air bearings for applications where high precision and low motion errors are critical to performance.