3D Printed Electronics Technology
Two process chains exist for manufacturing 3DPE: For high volume manufacturing electronics functionality is added to the outer surfaces of structural parts produced by traditional manufacturing methods: injection mouldings, composites, etc. For prototyping or lower volume manufacturing, 3DPE can be combined to structural elements (internally and/or externally) that are created by classical 3D Printing. For example:
- Fused Filament Fabrication (thermoplastics)
- Dispensing (polymer resins, ceramics)
Neotech’s 3D Printed Electronics (3DPE) technology can be configured for both process routes by combining processing modules:
- Print/Functionalisation Tools
- Pre-/Post-Processing Tools
in the 5 axis CNC Motion Platform:
5 Axis CNC Motion Platform
Neotech’s motion platforms are industrially proven, high accuracy, high speed machine tools. With the ability to use multiple print heads and 5 axes of simultaneous motion, the systems allow scalability through to high volume mass manufacture. They utilise the manufacturing code from Motion 3D CAD/CAM software to execute the part build.
Motion 3D Tool-path Generation Software
Motion 3D is novel CAD/CAM system that is specifically configured for 3D Printed Electronics. It takes a component’s geometrical data and generates the tool-path (machine code) for controlling the CNC motion platform. Up to 5 simultaneous co-ordinated axes of motion can be controlled allowing the implementation of the most effective print strategies for even the most complex 3D designs. All manufacturing steps are programmed within a single interface with advanced simulation tools ensuring correct operation before physical printing. Watch a 3D tool-path simulation.
A variety of print heads can be offered with the choice dependent on the final application. These include piezo-driven dispense systems, ink jet, dispensing and aerosol based print technologies. The print heads are mounted in the CNC motion platform and driven relative to the substrate in 3D space, producing in the desired pattern. After depositing the ink is post processed to obtain the final electronic properties. A very wide range of inks can be utilised enabling a full range of printed electronics functionality: conductors, semi-conductors, dielectrics, resistors etc.
For producing more sophisticated mechatronic systems Surface Mount Devices (SMDs) can be add from tape feeders, tray or Gelpac with the Pick And Place Module. Printed interconnects remove the need for soldering operations. The adaptive tool-path vision system ensures correct connection of the circuit.
Structural builds for Fully Additive Electronics are competed by FFF or dispensing technologies
The selection of pre- and/or post-processing tools is application dependent. If required, part surfaces can be prepared by plasma cleaning or CNC machining. Post print curing and sintering can be applied online by UV, laser or NIR light modules.