Optomec, a leading global supplier of production grade additive manufacturing (AM) systems for 3D Printed Metals and 3D Printed Electronics, announced that the company, in concert with development partners Lockheed Martin, Binghamton University, General Electric Company, Intrinsiq Materials, and the University of Maryland, was recently awarded one of five development projects from NextFlex, to help bring Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) to widespread adoption.
NextFlex is America’s FHE Manufacturing Institute and a leading force in the US manufacturing industry. FHE is a new class of lightweight, low cost, flexible, stretchable, conformable and efficient devices for the Internet of Things (IoT), medical, robotics and communication markets.
The project, entitled “Conformal Printing of Conductor and Dielectric Materials onto Complex 3D Surfaces” has a total value on $3.1 million. The total cost-shared value of contracts from all NextFlex project calls to date is $45 million, signaling the confidence of industry, academia and government leaders for bringing FHE mainstream.
The goal of the project is to enable conformal printing of conductor and dielectric materials on complex 3D surfaces by advancing tooling, software and printing processes. Optomec’s contribution includes the upfront delivery of two Pilot Line systems to be installed at the NextFlex Technology Hub in San Jose, California and in New York using Optomec Aerosol Jet 5-axis (5x) printing systems. Additional existing Aerosol Jet systems will be made available at a number of the team member facilities. Advanced tool path generation software will enable the project team to print conformal circuitry at resolutions down to 10 microns onto 3D surfaces using Aerosol Jet 5x systems. As a result, Lockheed, the project lead, will deliver conformal sensors, 3D antenna structures and non-planar circut routing demonstrators.