Optomec Inc, an often overlooked OEM of industrial 3D printers, recently announced the development of a digital production solution that enables the direct printing of mobile device antennae. This solution is based on Optomec’s proprietary Aerosol Jet Printed Electronics technology, an Additive Manufacturing (AM) process used to print electronics directly on to 3D surfaces.
For this application, the Aerosol Jet technology is used to directly print 3D antennae onto plastic inserts and enclosures for smart phones and other devices. As well as functional benefits, such as reducing the overall thickness of the handheld devices, the new 3D-printed antenna solution may potentially also reduce logistics, material consumption and overall processing and offer health & safety and environmental benefits. This is because the process eliminates the use of chemical plating and the hazardous nickel content used in current manufacturing methods.
Optomec reports that the company has demonstrated the successful printing of a range of antennae, including LTE, NFC, GPS, WLAN and Bluetooth.
According to Dave Ramahi, President/CEO of Optomec: “Optomec’s antenna printing solution represents a landmark achievement in our long-standing commitment to transition additive manufacturing technologies into mainstream mass production applications. With smart phone production on pace to reach 2 billion units per year, this market represents a significant and growing business opportunity that we are well poised to pursue.”
Optomec is a privately-held, rapidly growing supplier of industrial grade 3D printing (or additive manufacturing) systems that utilise the company’s patented Aerosol Jet Printed Electronics technology and LENS Printed Metal technology.
A short video of the process for the antennae application is below.
For more information on Aerosol Jet printed antennas, click here.