Additive Manufacturing Technology Development
The next generation of manufacturing technology will require complete spatial control of material and functionality as structures are created layer-by-layer – providing fully customizable, high value, multi-functional products for consumer, biomedical, aerospace and defense industries. With contemporary Additive Manufacturing (AM – also known more popularly as 3D printing) providing the base fabrication process, a comprehensive manufacturing suite can be integrated seamlessly to include 1) extrusion of a wide variety of robust thermoplastics / metals, 2) micromachining, 3) laser ablation, 4) ultrasonic embedding of wires and fine-pitch meshes and 5) component placement. Collectively, the integrated technologies will fabricate multi material structures through the integration of a wide variety of manufacturing systems (multi-technology) to provide multi-functional products (consumer wearable electronics, bio-medical devices, defense, space and energy systems, etc.). A preliminary version of the proposed system is shown in fig. 1a and includes several sub-processes with a conveyance system to translate a device-under-construction between stages. Fig. 1b illustrates a cross-section of a conceptual model of a 3D structure with embedded wires and components within a multi-material substrate providing mechanical, thermal and electromagnetic functionality.
The Keck Center is also involved in several AM technologies including multi-material stereolithography, micro-stereolithography and bio-compatible stereolithography.
Figure 1– A) preliminary-version of hybrid FDM system with integrated complementary manufacturing technologies. and B) conceptual model cross-section of multi-functional 3D printed electronics