- Sep 18, 2018-

3d-printed electronics are providing future information for our devices.From drones to mobile phones, laptops to satellites, the technology has the potential to accelerate product development, change features and design.Non-planar electronic technology is one of the fields in which 3D printing has revolutionary potential.

In essence, non-planar electronic technology is the opposite of the two-dimensional layer in the traditional circuit board, which can make the unique complex shape redefine the limit of traditional electronic technology.

Form follows function

As a global market worth hundreds of billions of dollars, the electronics industry faces the challenge of developing new, lighter, more intuitive devices.This is also an area where speed is critical.To do that, some new tools and lateral thinking are needed.

With 3D printing, designers can revolutionize traditional craftsmanship.Manufacturing processes and locations (internal) are different, which means development workflows can be more agile with the introduction of new design options.

The use of standard manufacturing methods affects the number of PCB layers used for manufacturing equipment.More basic PCBS have four layers, others have six, and more complex devices can contain 16 or more layers.In the past, big companies had their own traditional PCB manufacturing capabilities, but as circuit boards became more complex, it was no longer an option.

Using 3D printing to make non-planar electronics

Adding to the advantages of adopting non-planar electronics, Fried continues,"Shaped electronics can allow you to save weight, save space and basically tackle many of the design challenges that today are resolved by resorting to rigi-flex boards which are combinations of traditional, hard PCBs, with lots of flexible ribbons or wires as well as connectors and sockets."

Cross-industry collaboration

Because of confidentiality agreements, nanometer size technology has not entered the "the case study stage" with many specific applications classified.Indeed, the ability to 3D print PCB's in-house is highly attractive to companies concerned about maintaining the lead on competitors and wary of leaks.

Ultimately, Fried's vision of nanometer size is to simplify the electronics manufacturing process and integrate production and assembly into a system."Today, to make multiple layers of PCB, you need 40 or even 50 different manufacturing steps, and with a 3D printer, you see a dramatic reduction in manufacturing complexity and the ability to design different products."The primary focus at present however is in material development,"As with the mechanical 3D printers, as things evolve into the future what will be required for additive electronics is an ever wider range of materials for broader applications,"

The DragonFly Pro 3D printing PCBs. Photo via Nano Dimension

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