Kevin Robinson-Avila, Senior Reporter- Albuquerque Business First

Optomec Inc. and Stratasys Inc. are forging a marriage that could change the way unmanned aerial vehicles, and many smart devices, are made.

Albuquerque-based Optomec has developed “aerosol jets” that print advanced electronics onto surfaces. Stratasys sells high-volume manufacturing machines that create three-dimensional plastic parts.

The companies combined their technologies this year to print plastic “smart wings” for a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) built by Aurora Flight Sciences, a Virginia company that is developing rapid, low-cost manufacturing technologies for the U.S. Air Force.

Jeff DeGrange, Stratasys vice president for direct digital manufacturing, said that by fusing their technologies, the partners created the world’s first fully printed hybrid structure.

“Bringing together 3-D printing and printed electronic circuitry will be a game changer for design and manufacturing,” DeGrange said. “It has the potential to completely streamline production by requiring fewer materials and steps to bring a product to market.”

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