Born as the 3D printing business unit of Cytosurge AG, a Swiss company specializing in scientific measurement tools, Exaddon has now been officially spun off into a new autonomous company, Exaddon AG. The new company will focus exclusively on the development of processes and systems in the field of additive manufacturing of microscopically small metal components, leveraging Cytosurge’s proprietary FluidFM technology for metal micro-scale 3D printing (µAM).
Significant progress over the past few months in product and process developments in the field of “additive micro-manufacturing” has led to the decision of transforming the former business unit into a technological global market leader.
“The original decision to develop this revolutionary additive manufacturing technology and to establish a winning team of specialists to develop this new application of FluidFM technology has definitely paid off for us,” said Dr. Pascal Behr, CEO of Cytosurge AG, announcing the development of the Business Unit “The consistent and positive market response from various industries and leading corporations with respect to the FluidFM 3D printing technology confirms that our decision was the right one. Given the unique nature of the additive manufacturing business and specific requirements of our key target markets such as the semiconductor industry- Dr. Behr added – we are convinced that an independent company can achieve the high growth opportunities in this emerging market much more proficiently if it can focus entirely on this key goal. We are very proud to announce today the establishment of Exaddon AG for this purpose and I am convinced that Edgar and his team will thrive.”
FluidFM technology for metal micro-scale 3D printing
Exaddon’s additive micromanufacturing technology (µAM) is based on electrochemical deposition. A small printing nozzle, called an iontip, is immersed in a supporting electrolyte bath. A precisely regulated air pressure pushes the metal ion-containing liquid through a microchannel inside the iontip. The liquid flow can be in the order of just femtoliters per second. At the end of the microchannel, the ion-containing liquid is subsequently released onto the surface. The dissolved metal ions are then electrodeposited into solid metal atoms. These metal atoms are growing together into small building blocks: the voxels. Optical force feedback registers the completion of each voxel until all voxels are printed and the complete object is constructed. The electrochemical printing process takes place at room temperature and leads to very high-quality metal structures that do not require any post-processing.
The founding of the new 3D printing company Exaddon AG in Glattbrugg comes at the conclusion of a two-and-a-half-year phase of intense development of highly innovative technology. A decade ago, the core FluidFM technology was developed at ETH Zurich as a doctoral thesis for its applicability to additive manufacturing of microscopically small metal components. The knowledge acquired formed the basis for the creation of Cytosurge AG, which subsequently led to the strategic decision to further develop the technology to market maturity within a separate Business Unit. A carefully selected and dedicated team of specialists now represents the core team at Exaddon AG, with Edgar Hepp as the new CEO.
“We have developed ground-breaking manufacturing technology and have brought it to market maturity,” Mr. Hepp commented. “It gives our clients the capabilities to perform unique additive manufacturing of high-end products at an unprecedented level.”
Exaddon AG is now responsible for all previous Cytosurge projects related to additive manufacturing and will continue to manage and develop them. The two companies will continue to work closely and cooperate on specific strategic projects.
Micro-metal 3D objects
The demonstration uses cases already published by Exaddon have involved high profile partners such as Harvard University and the Massachusetts General Hospital. In one case, shown in the image below, on the right-hand side, the technology was used to manufacture coils with a diameter of just 10 micrometers, using standard printing nozzles. With custom nozzles, the diameter could be even smaller. In another use case, conductive copper microneedles were produced offering freedom in design and straight-forward customization of each needle (or arrays of needles).