Neotech AMT's demonstration
The German firm Neotech AMT has been developing systems for 3D Printed Electronics (3DPE) since 2006 and today has announced the commercial release of a production platform for sintering of 3D Printed Electronics, the LBS 45XE.
LBS (Light Beam Sintering) is a non-contact, photonic sintering technique which can be applied to standard conductive Ag inks on polymer sustrates. It performs to a high level (compared to regular oven sintering) and is especially suitable for applying to printed electronic circuits on “low temperature capable” substrates such as transparent Polycarbonate (PC).
Each sintering head of the LBS 45XE contains of a specially selected light source that is tuned to the absorption wavelength of the printed media. The projected light beam is focussed on to the printed trace where local heating and sintering of the printed structure takes place leaving the surrounding body unaffected. The sintered trace is highly conductive with strong adhesive and cohesive strength. Parts from a few cm up to 2m in size can be accommodated. Sintering is carried out with up to 5 simultaneous axes of motion. Advanced Tool Centre Point technology ensures consistent sinter profiles even on highly curved surfaces.
Dr. Martin Hedges, Managing Director of Neotech states that “this platform will assist customers to develop novel 3D Printed Electronics structures on low temperature substrates. The initial target markets are printed antenna for mobile phones and heater patterns for the automotive industry. The LBS 45XE has been designed for mass production with low operating costs. The system will be a very useful compliment our current range of 5 axis printing platforms to advance 3D Printed Electronics.“
One example of an application for Neotech AMT's system is in the mobile phone industry; a case study shows how printing cell phone antenna improves design flexibility, reduces device product thickness, and offers environmental compared to traditional processes. As a digitally driven process no there is no need for any hard tooling, special plastic resins, or plating processes. The lead time for New Product Development, initial sample delivery or product design changes can also be significantly reduced.