Technological Breakthrough: 3D Printing of Rigid PCB Series Combined with Flexible Conductive Connectors in a Single Print.
Nano Dimension Ltd., company specialized in the field of 3D printed electronics, recently announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Nano Dimension Technologies Ltd., has successfully 3D printed a series of multi-layered rigid PCBs, connected through printed flexible conductive connections. This process provides a solution to traditional production limitations in the electronics industry, such as continuous transfer of conductors between circuits, loose contacts, size of connections between the circuits, as well as fabrication of multi-layered flexible material. This enables the bending of the PCB so that it can be combined with curved and complex geometrical products.
The company has filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the materials that are printed in this process, as well as for the printing process itself. The printed materials include unique conductive ink with exceptional flexibility properties, as well as a dielectric-material ink that enables rigidity and flexibility. These materials can be controlled digitally, and consequently integrated together in a homogeneous way during the printing process.
In addition, Nano Dimension has developed a unique software that allows the printing of electronics-design files with flexible connections. The software receives complex three-dimensional files (CAD) from the user and converts them, using a unique algorithm, to files that can be 3D printed.
Printing flexible connections eliminates the need to manually connect the circuits, enabling potential customers to benefit from high quality connections with high mechanical properties such as bending, twisting, and strength, while saving space and money. To the best of the company's knowledge, Nano Dimension is the first in the world to successfully print multi-layered rigid circuits with flexible connections.
According to a recent report from Research and Markets, the global flexible electronics market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 25% from 2016 to 2022. The market has generated revenue of $5.42 Billion in 2016 and is anticipated to reach $20.67 Billion by 2022. The potential users of this solution include companies from a variety of industries, such as aerospace, missiles, aviation, flexible electronics, wearable equipment, IoT, etc.
One example of how such circuits may be used is during the process of creating a flexible watch. The electronics in the watch could potentially be printed using Nano Dimension's technology, eliminating the need to manually add connectors. Thus, the watch can be thinner, more durable, and with flexibility properties that vary according to the ergonomic design of the watch.