Aerospace and Automotive “Smart Structures” Functionalized using Aerosol Jet Technology will be Presented

Albuquerque, New Mexico, 24 May 2012:Optomec announced today that Mike O’Reilly, Aerosol Jet Product Manager, will give a presentation titled “Functionalizing 3D Structures with Aerosol Jet Printed Electronics” at the RAPID conference this week. The presentation follows a recent announcement by Stratasys (Nasdaq: SSYS) and Optomec on their joint development of groundbreaking technology that merges 3D Printing and Printed Electronics capabilities to produce fully printed electro/mechanical smart structures. The RAPID conference will be held May 22-25 at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, Georgia.

Mr. O’Reilly’s presentation will highlight two different complex mechanical structures that were functionalized using Aerosol Jet 3D printed electronics capabilities. The first example is a working RF antenna and power distribution circuitry directly printed onto an Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) wing which itself was printed with the Stratasys Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process. The RF antenna transmits live video from a camera to a remote display monitor. The propeller and LED are powered by circuits also printed on the wing structure with Aerosol Jet. The electrical and sensor designs were provided by Aurora Flight Sciences, a supplier of UAVs. For a video demonstration of the UAV smart structure, click here.

Mr. O’Reilly will also explain the development of an Aerosol Jet printed fill level sensor and control circuitry, courtesy of Neotech Services MTP. This novel device was developed under the FKIA project funded by the Bayerische Forschungsstiftung. Two capacitive sensor structures were printed on the ends of a molded plastic tank. The sensors are connected by printed circuits and surface mount components to complete the sensor device. When water is pumped into the tank the sensors register the water level as it rises, lighting LEDs to indicate the fill level. When the tank compartment is full the circuit senses the water fill level and reverses the pump direction. For more information on Aerosol Jet 3D printed electronics, click here.

The demand for novel electronic devices that pack more functionality into less space is driving the development of 3D printed electronics. Applications ranging from System In Package (SiP) used in smart phones and other mobile devices to conformal printed sensors, antennae, and more are all realizing the possibilities of Aerosol Jet 3D printing technology. The unique ability of Aerosol Jet systems to print fine line conformal circuitry on non planar surfaces is a key enabler for fully printed electronics on 3D surfaces. The relatively large stand-off, up to 5mm from the nozzle tip to the substrate, and high velocity particle stream enable the Aerosol Jet material deposition head to print on surfaces with inclines of up to 60 degrees without tilting the head.

Optomec is the world-leading provider of additive manufacturing solutions for high-performance applications in the Electronics, Solar, Medical, and Aerospace & Defense markets. These systems utilize Optomec’s patented Aerosol Jet Printed Electronics technology and LENS powder-metal fabrication technology. The company has a global customer base of more than 100 users that includes many industry-leading manufacturers.

Aerosol Jet is a registered trademark of Optomec, Inc.

LENS is a trademark of Sandia Laboratories.