Mar 24, 2016 | By Kira
After being backed by GE and Autodesk, reporting 70% revenue growth in 2015, and securing numerous orders for its Aerosol Jet 5X 3D printed electronics system, New Mexico-based metal and electronics 3D printing company Optomec has revealed that its Aerosol Jet technology is being used by LITE-ON for the high-volume production of 3D printed consumer electronics, including handheld devices for top-tier brands.
LITE-ON Mobile Mechanical SBG (previously LITE-ON Mobile) provides mechanical solutions and services for some of the world’s leading names in electronics, including HTC, Huawei, LGE, Nokia, Philips, and more.
Using Optomec’s Aerosol Jet 3D printing technology, the company has pioneered a 3D Direct Printing (3DP) solution that enables it to directly integrate 3D printed antenna patterns and other functional electronics into nearly any mechanical structure or cover, including ones made from plastic, metal and even glass.
According to Optomec, the 3DP process allows LITE-ON to maximize design flexibility, ensure optimal placement and performance of the 3D printed electronic component, and even allows for slimmer product designs—a great advantage in today’s consumer electronics market.
“With the flexibility provided by Aerosol Jet technology, our 3DP systems can print sensors, antennas, and other functional electronics onto plastic components and covers, as well as metal die-cast insert-molded polymer frames, and even onto glass panels and ceramic materials,” said Henrik Johansson, Senior Manager, Technology Development Antennas, at LITE-ON. “We see Aerosol Jet as a strategic component of our 3DP solution, which has enabled us to expand into new markets.”
Optomec’s patented Aerosol Jet 5X 3D printing technology was specifically designed to enable customers to 3D print detailed electronic, structural, and even biological patterns onto plastic, ceramic, and metal structures. The Aerosol Jet 5X print head works by precisely depositing nanomaterials, including functional conductive inks, and can 3D print feature sizes ranging from 10 microns up to millimetres in width.
For clients such as LITE-ON, this level of detail and functionality allows them to reduce the overall size of electronic systems, including 3D antennas, sensors, and other circuitry, enabling a new generation of lighter weight, cost-effective, high-performance smart devices.
Additionally, Optomec’s technology is scalable, meaning it can be used in high-volume industrial applications. According to the Optomec, each machine is able to 3D print a range of common electronic materials, at a rate of a million units per year.
Alongside GE Healthcare, LITE-ON was one of Optomec’s first key clients. Initially, LITE-ON purchased Aerosol Jet 3D printers to develop prototypes for its OEM customers, as the system provided full design flexibility, allowed for quick iteration, and reduced lead-time for last-minute changes.
However LITE-ON has since expanded its usage from prototyping to full-on production. The company has now installed several Aerosol Jet 3D printers, which operate 24/7 at its Guangzhou, China manufacturing facility.
“LITE-ON has been an incredible strategic customer for Optomec. Their dedication and commitment was critical to proving the viability of Aerosol Jet technology in a real world 24/7 production setting,” said Dave Ramahi, Optomec President and CEO. “With its unique and in-depth process knowledge in Aerosol Jet printing, Optomec is pleased to recognize LITE-ON as a 'Center of Excellence' for High Volume Production of 3D Printed Electronics.”
Optomec’s 3D printed electronics system is enabling a new generation of electronics that are smaller, more lightweight, and optimized for industry-specific and high-volume production needs. In addition to serving consumer electronics, the Aerosol Jet 5X system has been ordered by leaders in the industrial, healthcare, aerospace and defense industries.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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