Additive Manufacturing Approach Will Offer Cost, Environmental and Functional Benefits
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — May 30, 2013 — Optomec, Inc. announced today that it is developing a new digital production solution that enables direct printing of antennas used in mobile device applications. The solution is based on Optomec's patented Aerosol Jet Printed Electronics technology, an Additive Manufacturing process used to print electronics onto planar and three-dimensional (3D) surfaces. In this case, Aerosol Jet technology is used to directly print conformal 3D antennas onto standard plastic inserts and enclosures for smartphones and other mobile devices.
Optomec's 3D Printed Antenna solution has the potential to significantly reduce cost versus competing methods due to efficiencies derived from Additive Manufacturing, including elimination of hard tooling and reduction in logistics, material consumption and overall processing. Furthermore, the Aerosol Jet printing approach has environmental and health benefits, as it completely eliminates the need for chemical plating and hazardous nickel content found in current manufacturing methods. Also, Aerosol Jet printing will allow new antenna placement strategies which will enable functional benefits, such as reducing the overall thickness of handheld devices.
Optomec is engaged with a number of early adopter customers, including both handset OEMs and their contract manufacturers. Today’s generation of smartphones include about a half dozen different antennas in each device, and Optomec has demonstrated the successful printing of a range of these antennas, including LTE, NFC, GPS, WLAN, Bluetooth, etc.
Optomec has developed a first generation production print engine that is capable of producing 1-2 million units per year, depending on antenna design. Additionally, the Company is working with material suppliers and systems integrators to bring a comprehensive solution to market that can meet the individualized needs of each manufacturer. For more information on Aerosol Jet printed antennas, click here.
Dave Ramahi, President/CEO of Optomec, states, “Optomec’s antenna printing solution represents a landmark achievement in our long-standing commitment to transition additive manufacturing technologies into mainstream mass production applications. With smartphone production on pace to reach 2 billion units per year, this market represents a significant and growing business opportunity that we are well poised to pursue.”
Optomec is a privately-held, rapidly growing supplier of Additive Manufacturing systems. These solutions utilize Optomec’s patented Aerosol Jet Printed Electronics technology and LENS Printed Metal technology to reduce costs and improve performance. Together, these unique 2D and 3D printing solutions work with the broadest spectrum of functional materials, ranging from electronic inks to structural metals and even biological matter. Optomec has more than 150 marquee customers around the world, targeting production applications in the Electronics, Energy, Life Sciences and Aerospace industries.
Aerosol Jet is a registered trademark of Optomec, Inc.
LENS is a trademark of Sandia National Laboratories.
Bluetooth is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG.
LTE is a trademark of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.