Quality boost in 3D printing opens up new applications in mobile comms, consumer electronics

November 09, 2018 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Quality boost in 3D printing opens up new applications in mobile comms, consumer electronics
In additive manufacturing (3D printing) of highly conductive copper components, technology company Heraeus (Hanau, Germany) has set new records for material density and conductivity. The achievement is opening up new industrial fields of application for the manufacturing process of components in mobile radio devices, consumer electronics, and e-mobility. Also the procurement of spare parts benefits from this.

Heraeus Additive Manufacturing has optimized the material and process on a standard printer: The materials and manufacturing specialist has succeeded in producing components with a density of 99.8 percent of the solid material and a conductivity of approx. 95 percent IACS (International Annealed Copper Standard) using 3D printing. For this process, approximately 85 percent IACS is standard on the market. According to the company, the additive production of highly conductive copper components is now possible and economical in many industrial sectors. Due to printing "on demand", the process reduces the procurement of earth replacement parts from several months to a few days.

Application examples are components from the areas of electric drives, inductive heating, thermal management and other applications that exploit the excellent electrical and thermal properties of copper. Manufacturing tolerances in conventional manufacturing processes are often too high to achieve reproducibility in particularly sensitive manufacturing processes, such as products for sophisticated heat sinks or laser transmission. The Heraeus developers are now working on further increasing the conductivity of microalloyed copper and transferring the findings of the experts to standard equipment from other manufacturers. This adaptation is necessary because the systems of different manufacturers behave differently.

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