by • April 27, 2016 • No Comments
There is nothing else like Optomec’s Aerosol Jet series on the market, as the Aerosol Jet 3D printing device is the just such device capable of spraying conductive inks and other materials onto objects for electronics prototyping or actually, in a few cases, weight making. The Aerosol Jet 5X takes this process and gives it five-axis motion so that users can 3D-print electronics onto three-dimensional objects.
The Aerosol Jet 5X process of Optomec.(Image courtesy of Optomec.)
How the Aerosol Jet 5X Works
Optomec’s one-of-a-kind innovation works by initially atomizing a given 3D-printing material into a mist. In a separate module, this mist is subsequently focutilized and deposited with an inert gas by spraying the material through a thin nozzle onto a substrate, that must be of 5 mm (0.20 in) of the nozzle.
The types of materials that can be utilized with the process range of metal inks, resistor inks and nonmetallic conductors to dielectrics, adhesives, semiconductors and actually DNA and proteins for specialty bioprinting. But, in the case of many metal inks, the 3D-printed objects must be heated in an oven for final curing.
A phasedarray antenna 3D printed by the Aerosol Jet 5X process. (Image courtesy of Optomec/YouTube.)
The skill to deposit materials in this way allows for for 3D printing electronic circuitry and sensors directly onto an object with a high degree of precision and additional detail and without the masks and resists typically synonymous with electronics printing. The Aerosol Jet process can complete line widths satisfactoryr than 10 microns with a 20-micron pitch and layers as thin as 50 nanometers.
The Aerosol Jet 200 has two-axis motion and is desatisfactoryd as an R&D solution for developing and testing conductive inks. The Aerosol Jet 300 has three-axis motion and the Aerosol Jet 5X, released in 2014, greatly expands the functionality of the innovation with full five-axis motion.
The newest process is capable of spraying materials on nonplanar surfaces, allowing complicated three-dimensional objects to be coated with functional inks. This is particularly useful for making electronics, as quite satisfactory circuitry and sensors can be directly written onto the surfaces of objects, ultimately allowing the shrinking of electronic devices as these components can take up less and less space.
A quad setup of Marathon print modules allows for for batch production of 3D-printed electronics. (Image courtesy of Optomec/YouTube.)
The Aerosol Jet 5X comes equipped with the “Sprint” print module, that is made additional for prototyping and analyzing materials. For low-volume production, users can purchase the “Marathon” print module.
Available in single, dual and quad setups, the Marathon can either be implemented in a custom setup that may combine electronics printing with another making process or with four modules on the same machine, allowing the jetting of materials onto four substrates at once.
The Aerosol Jet 5X in Action
So far, this innovation has been demonstrated as many useful for prototyping and short-run production of electronics, particularly for creating antennas for mobile devices. Most not long ago, Optomec customer Lite-On Mobile Mechanical SBG revealed the use of several Aerosol Jet 5X processs for the weight making of a variety of electronic devices.
The company began implementing the innovation for prototyping purposes when making communication, very own care and car products for their customers. Soon, Lite-On best known the possibility of via the process for weight production, installing multiple machines at their facility in Guangzhou, China.
The machines are already operating 24/7, according to the company, allowing for the production of millions of electronic devices, which include smartphones and tablets, with 3D-printed sensors, antennas and other components.
The Aerosol Jet 5X configured to host multiple platforms for 3D-printing electronics onto multiple electronic devices. (Image courtesy of Optomec.)
Not just has this reduced making and made a additional streamlined production process, according to the company, the innovation has in addition led to the development of Lite-On’s 3D Direct Print (3DP) solution, in that the Taiwanese company offers electronics 3D printing as a service to its customers.
Model: Aerosol Jet 5X
Material: Metal inks, resistor inks, nonmetallic conductors, dielectrics, adhesives, semiconductors and other low-viscosity inks
Build Envelope: 200 x 300 x200 mm (8 x 12 x 8 in)
Layer Thickness: 50 nm (2 micro inches)
Printer Dimensions: 1,020 x 1,375 x 2,240 mm (40 x 54 x 88 in)
Printer Weight: 835 kg (1,841 lbs)
Recommended Uses: Prototyping and short-run making of electronic devices
Machine Price: $495,000 (the Marathon print module is $95,000)
Who Should Use the Aerosol Jet 5X:
The Aerosol Jet 5X is the just 3D printing device on the market capable of the writing of satisfactory electronics onto three-dimensional surfaces. Any business that needs to quickly prototype or create shortruns of custom electronic devices may find themselves turning to this machine.
Why Wouldn’t You Use the Aerosol Jet 5X: If you are part of a tiny operation that needs just to prototype a tiny number of electronics without incredibly satisfactory additional details, this machine can most likely prove to be much too expensive.
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