May 22, 2017 | By Benedict

TriDInnov, a 3D printing startup based in Metz, France, has developed a metallization solution called “Eoprom” that can be used to turn plastics and composites, including 3D printed ones, into functional electronic devices.

In a world where your keys, shoes, and even your bathroom mirror can all be connected and synced up via Internet of Things (IoT) technology, the importance of 3D printed electronics is growing by the day.

It’s easy to see why: the ability to turn ordinary pieces of plastic or metal into so-called “smart devices” embedded with electronics creates huge opportunities for both manufacturers and customers.

Your keys can now tell you where they are via WiFi, your shoes now can count how many calories you’re burning, and your bathroom mirror can even tell you what the weather will be like today. (Microsoft built such a device last year using its Windows 10 OS and a Raspberry Pi.)

Trivial though these products can seem, the benefits they offer their users are not insignificant, and companies are fully aware that they can market such products to the tech-hungry consumer.

The business world is reacting in accordance with these trends too. You only have to look at the huge interest in companies like Nano Dimension and Optomec to see that, in 2017, printing and electronics are a perfect match.

And it is the huge potential of printed electronics and functional devices that inspired TriDInnov, a French startup, to develop a process for the “additive metallization” of plastic and composite materials—3D printed ones included.

The company, working in collaboration with compatriot Kelenn Technology, has developed an adhesive solution called Eoprom. The solution contains metallic ions, and can be printed directly onto a plastic substrate such as a 3D printed object to create 3D or 2D printed circuitry.

Eoprom can currently only be printed using the DMD 100, Kelenn Technology’s off-contact digital dispenser, which allows for the deposition of fluidic materials onto planar substrates measuring 200 x 200 mm using a disposable piston cartridge. Kelenn Technology says the machine is “cost effective and easy to use.”

Although TriDInnov is still in its infancy—its website proves as much—the company has high hopes for its additive metallization solution, and says the material is “low cost, non toxic, and widely available.” The startup adds that the solution is designed for mass production of electronic devices, and could be much cheaper than traditional printed circuit board production processes.

You don’t need to take TriDInnov’s word for it either. The company was identified as one of the most promising startups at Berlin’s IDTechEx Show earlier this month, where CEO Jacque Henrion explained the basics of his company’s work to attendees.

Henrion said his product provides “electronic [functionality] on all sorts of plastics,” adding that the embedding of circuits, sensors, and other printed technology to a plastic substrate takes less than one hour.

Eoprom can even be printed onto flexible materials, a capability that could make the process suitable for creating wearable technology and other futuristic devices.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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