Global security and defense company HENSOLDT has achieved a milestone in 3D printing electronics in cooperation with Israeli leader in additively manufactured electronics Nano Dimension. The companies, which have been working together since 2016 to advance electronics AM, have assembled the world’s first 10-layer printed circuit board (PCB) with high-performance electronic structures soldered to both outer sides. The 3D printed PCB, made from a new dielectric polymer ink and conductive ink, is the first to successfully use soldering for a two-sided component.
The 3D printed component marks a significant step ahead towards HENSOLDT’s goal of using 3D printing in the development process of high-performance electronic components for defense applications. Compared to traditional electronic production techniques, 3D printing could offer more speed, agility and design freedom. “Military sensor solutions require performance and reliability levels far above those of commercial components.” explained HENSOLDT CEO, Thomas Müller. “To have high-density components quickly available with reduced effort by means of 3D printing gives us a competitive edge in the development process of such high-end electronic systems.”
Another benefit of using additive manufacturing for the production of electronics is in verifying and testing a new PCB design before moving into production. This, in combination with fast turnaround times and ensuing cost reductions, can lead to final products of higher quality and performance. The 10-layer PCB produced by HENSOLDT using Nano Dimension’s electronic 3D printing equipment and materials, takes the technology a step ahead, showing that 3D printed PCBs can now be soldered on both sides.
“Nano Dimension’s relationship with HENSOLDT is the type of partnership with customers we are striving for,” said Yoav Stern, Nano Dimension President and CEO. “Working together and learning from HENSOLDT led us to reach a first-of-its-kind in-depth knowledge of polymer materials applications. Additionally, it guided us in the development of Hi-PEDs (High Performance Electronic Device) that create competitive edges by enabling unique implementations with shortest time to market.”
HENSOLDT first adopted Nano Dimension’s 3D printing technology in 2016 to explore the potential of printing electronics. More recently, the company installed Nano Dimension’s new DragonFly Lights-Out Digital Manufacturing (LDM) platform, the first AM system for round-the-clock, continuous production of 3D printed circuitry. The German defense company was the first to install the DragonFly LDM technology last July.