It looks like the Internet of Things (IoT) is reaching into the field of additive manufacturing. As developers seek to create more networked products to sense, collect, analyze and communicate data, new technologies, such as additive manufacturing are being used.
While IoT applications are varied, the common requirement for such “smart connected devices” is an inherent need for sensors (“smart”) and antennas (“connected”). Emerging 3-Dimensional “Direct Write” 3D Printing approaches for creating antennas and sensors enable rapid design and prototyping, reduce manufacturing steps and associated costs, and broaden the choice of materials for producing smart, connected devices on target substrate shapes and materials.
Optomec Aerosol Jet technology is a high volume printing approach for the production of 3D antennas and 3D sensors that are tightly integrated with an underlying product ranging from Smartphones to Industrial Components. With Aerosol Jet systems, customers can print high-precision integrated electronics onto 3D plastic, ceramic and metallic structures at extremely fine resolutions.
The smart and connected products can provide feedback to engineers to improve future designs and to service technicians to proactively maintain products based on their condition. Data on product performance, customer behaviors and environmental factors gives manufacturers insight that could fundamentally change the way products are developed, maintained and supported. Since life cycle costs of industrial products can be 10 to 15 times higher than the original equipment purchase cost, smart connected devices offer customers and manufacturers significant potential for cost savings and improved product performance.
Optomec Aerosol Jet technology is a key enabler for smart, connected IoT devices:
- Prints functional antennas and sensors directly onto 3D parts
- Prints on plastic, ceramic and metallic substrates
- Eliminates environmentally-unfriendly plating & use of hazardous materials
- Reduces manufacturing costs by 20% over conventional methods
- Scalable for high volume production
At FLEX 2016 Conference in Monterey, CA, Dr. Kurt Christenson, Senior Scientist for Optomec, will give a presentation titled “Aerosol Jet Printing of Antennas and Sensors for Smart Internet of Things (IoT) Devices.” Dr. Christenson’s presentation will provide information on the use of Aerosol Jet printing technology for mass production of a variety of 3D antennas, sensors and circuitry used for mobile and industrial Internet of Things applications.
The Aerosol Jet process uses an aerodynamic focusing technique to collimate a dense mist of material-laden micro droplets into a tightly controlled beam to print features as small as 10 microns or as large as several millimeters in a single pass. A wide assortment of materials can be printed with the Aerosol Jet system including conductive nano-particle inks, polymers and epoxies, along with dielectrics, ceramics, and bio-active materials. Aerosol Jet systems are currently in use for high volume, 24X7, production of consumer electronic devices.