Capability Assessment of Combining 3D Printing (FDM) and Printed Electronics (Aerosol Jet) to Produce Fully Printed Functionalized Devices

Mr Ken Vartanian, Director of Marketing
Optomec
United States
 
Nov 21, 2013.

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Presentation Summary

The need to reduce the size, weight, costs and cycle times while also increasing functionality of highly integrated systems is a design requirement for many consumer and military product development programs. To date, additive manufacturing has demonstrated new ways to produce complex physical structures that reduce dependencies on tooling and traditional manufacturing methods. These strategies are providing design flexibility while addressing the cost and cycle time requirements. However, industry has identified that further benefits can be obtained through the integration of printed electronic circuitry and components into additive manufactured structures. This technology integration complements and furthers additive manufacturing, with the resulting fully functionalized devices demonstrating the same benefits witnessed to date with additive manufactured structures, but to a new level.
Fused Deposition Modeling® (FDM) and Aerosol Jet® have been demonstrated to provide complementary technologies that can produce fully printed functionalized devices. FDM is an additive manufacturing process that can build three dimensional parts directly from a computer aided design (CAD) model out of high strength thermal plastics. Aerosol Jet is an additive manufacturing process that can deposit conductive inks onto a wide variety of surfaces and provides the capability to modulate the geometry and behavior of the deposited ink. This enables printing of sensors, electronic components, and circuits directly onto complex surfaces. The combination of these two technologies offers designers new options to produce highly integrated designs and products.
Stratasys, Optomec, and Aurora Flight Sciences collaborated on a project to demonstrate how FDM and Aerosol Jet could be combined to produce four typical electrical components (antenna, strain gauge, power circuit, and signal circuit) directly on the surface of a 3D Printed wing structure. The exercise was a path finder to understand the capabilities of the combined technologies and the integration requirements as well as current limitations. The results were very positive and demonstrated that the two technologies are compatible and can support immediate applications. Additional work is required to assess issues such as design rules, interface requirements, performance/lifecycle expectations, and supportability methods.

Company Profile (Optomec)

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Optomec is evolving the world of additive manufacturing by enabling new dimensions in 3D printing. The LENS and Aerosol Jet families of printers support a range of materials for metals, 3D printed electronics and other applications, and are able to implement feature sizes never before possible.
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