Currently available 3D printers are typically limited to the printing of one or two materials. This tool will be able to additively build integrated hybrid circuits on 3D surfaces, as well as devices on flexible, low temperature and rigid planar substrates. The tool will seamlessly integrate multiple existing tools into one complimentary system. It will have five heads, including one pick and place unit, three micro-dispensing pump heads, one fused deposition head, and one photonic curing unit. The tool will be able to print, switch dispensing materials, and cure, all at speeds beyond today’s fastest rates and without changing inks.
“The teaming of nScrypt and NovaCentrix on this project is optimal for a successful outcome,” noted Michael Ciesinski, president and CEO of FlexTech Alliance. “nScrypt has already created some of the most advanced 3D printing tools, while NovaCentrix is consistently introducing tools which are enabling the printed electronics revolution.”
“At nScrypt, we know that 3D printing is a truly disruptive technology and, even though initially expensive and challenging, the promise of flexibility and cost savings will drive adoption,” added Kenneth Church, CEO of nScrypt. “FlexTech funding allows nScrypt, where we have been working on digital printing for more than 15 years, and NovaCentrix to combine our expertise and demonstrate why 3D digital printing is a game-changing manufacturing process.”
“This ground-breaking integrated unit is the next step in what we see as the inevitable convergence of printed electronics and 3D fabrication. The portfolio of materials able to be used in 3D fabrication will expand dramatically, and active electronics can be designed into structures in ways never-before possible,” said Stan Farnsworth, vice president of marketing at NovaCentrix. “We laud FlexTech for the vision and organizational efforts in bringing this project to fruition, and the team at nScrypt for their engineering capability and deposition expertise.”
This system will be the first commercially available 3D additive manufacturing system capable of constructing functional monolithic 3D devices, able to realize a designer’s vision from art to part. Additionally, it is likely to meet the needs of a variety of industrial customers interested in additive manufacturing of electronic sub-components and devices such as antennae, touch sensors, or circuits for cell phones, and other molded parts made from limited thermal stability plastics parts.
This is the beginning of small lot manufacturing, but this is also the first tool that will easily transition to multi-nozzle systems for high volume mass customization and cyberfacturing.