Sensor house Hensoldt and 3D printer manufacturer Nano Dimension have formed a joint venture – J.A.M.E.S. (Jetted Additively Manufactured Electronics Sources) – to further advance the development of 3D-printed electronic components, the companies announced on 1 July.
"Increasing competition and accelerated customer procurement timelines will be one of the biggest challenges for established providers in the future," stated Marian Rachow, Head of HENSOLDT Ventures, the independent division that oversees technology insertion and new business models for the group. "Our joint venture not only guarantees the rapid development of technology as a real alternative to conventional electronics manufacturing, but also offers small and medium-sized companies the opportunity to efficiently design new products."
And Yoav Stern, CEO of Nano Dimension, added "We will be the largest and most effective high-end electronics design club for data exchange, as well as a marketplace. We could not find a better collaboration partner than Hensoldt, [which] contributes the application know-how and market knowledge, while Nano Dimension contributes the 3D electronics-printing technology and innovation. J.A.M.E.S.' target market is the global electronics engineering and circuit design community."
Hensoldt expects the cooperation will accelerate development cycles, as well as spare parts production, in order to be able to respond to customer needs more quickly and cost-effectively. With the help of special dielectric and conductive nanoparticle inks, it is possible to design electrical components directly via the printer and bring them into a three-dimensional form.
Nano Dimension is already producing the first 3D-printed electronics in its Multi-Jet process. Additively-manufactured electronics (AME) is an agile, customized method for developing electronic circuits, leading to significant reduction in development time and costs. In addition, AME delivers a verified design before production begins, resulting in higher quality of the final product.
The newly formed 3D printing joint venture will focus on building a cloud-based platform. In the future, other companies and customers will be able to upload a wide variety of electronic components in their usual CAD software, and convert them into a new type of AME file on the platform. They will also be able to obtain further designs via the platform described, modify them, add their own form factor and have them printed on demand.
Hensoldt has invested in researching digital 3D-printing of electronic components for several years, in order to exploit the technology for its own development and production. In collaboration with Nano Dimension, the company has already printed the world's first 10-layer PCB, which carries soldered high-performance electronic structures on both outer sides, using a specially developed polymer ink from Nano Dimension.