Originally developed to combat limitations in 3D printing materials and surfaces, Optomec’s Aerosol Jet technology yields unique input and output capabilities, which allow for 3D printing of a range of materials over a wide variety of surfaces. Optomec recently announced that their innovative Aerosol Jet technology has reached a breakthrough, allowing for 3D polymer and composite structures to be printed at remarkable micron-scale with embedded electronics. Mike O’Reilly, Optomec Director of Aerosol Jet Product Management explained the importance of this advancement, saying:
“This breakthrough in 3D printing technology extends additive manufacturing to the creation of micron scale, free-form polymer structures and smart devices. We continue to place emphasis on innovation such as Aerosol Jet 3D micro-structure printing to address our customer’s next generation product development challenges.”
Ultimately, with Aerosol Jet, customers can now print free-form micron-scale 3D structures without support structures from varying materials like photopolymers and composites. The latest technology also means that users can make fully functional 3D components from a single machine, as new structures can be metalized and printed with essential parts such as antennas and sensors.
This groundbreaking development, therefore, “optimizes the fabrication process [by] reducing manufacturing steps and material usage, making Aerosol Jet 3D micro-structure printing a cost-effective, green technology.”
How did they do it?
Optomec achieved this method by combining their Aerosol Jet fine feature printing capabilities with proprietary in-situ curing, allowing for quicker solidification processes. The innovative methods allows for local material deposition and local curing capabilities, which is essential for creating high resolution products.
This development is particularly significant for the electronics and biomedical industries, as resulting microstructures also have the potential to be printed onto semiconductor chips, medical devices, industrial parts and a host of other existing products for the respective fields.
Optomec is a privately-held, rapidly growing supplier of Additive Manufacturing systems. Optomec’s patented Aerosol Jet Systems for printed electronics and LENS 3D Printers for metal components are used by industry to reduce product cost and improve performance. Together, these unique printing solutions work with the broadest spectrum of functional materials, ranging from electronic inks to structural metals and even biological matter. Optomec has more than 200 marquee customers around the world, targeting production applications in the Electronics, Energy, Life Sciences and Aerospace industries.
Featured Image courtesy of Optomec