EIPC Technical Snapshot: What Possibilities Does Additive Manufacturing Unfold in the PCB Industry?

The world of PCB bid farewell to summer with the opening of the EIPC Technical Snapshot webinar, which was held on September 14th. The discussions and professional statements yielded insights on developments in two interesting fields: automotive electronics technology and additive manufacturing. Over the course of the day these themes were addressed by three speakers.

Jonas Mertin, a thin-film processing specialist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology introduced novel ideas surrounding additive manufacturing and sensor printing. Such were laser-based modification of already-coated component surfaces, and the additive production of films by coating and thermal post-processing. They stand out as flexible, low-cost, and resource-efficient solutions in PCB manufacturing. 

The second presentation focused on PCB solutions applicable in the automotive industry. Christopher Rocneanu, the vice President of business development with IQ evolution in Germany discussed thermal management of power electronics components. He described in detail the production and applications of liquid-cooled heatsinks, which are 3D-printed in stainless steel. In regular cars 3D-printed heatsinks might operate at lower coolant pressures and enable substantially higher flow rates, as well as bring about a significant weight reduction in automotive applications.

The final speaker, Ralph Birnbaum, director of business development at ioTech Group in Israel, introduced solutions for digital mass manufacturing of electronics. His techniques should enable high-resolution printing of continuous laser-assisted deposition, based on laser-induced forward-transfer technology.  This additive manufacturing method, which won the Productronica innovation award in 2021, could increase eco-friendly production of screen printing and decrease ownership costs, simplify maintenance, and lower the price of consumables.

If you want to read more about these intriguing PCB solutions, visit I-Connect007, the PCB industry’s leading publisher.

As the PCB industry is constantly evolving, pressing matters range from supply-chain issues to environment-friendly manufacturing. If you are interested in discussing these PCB challenges, I may have solutions to offer.

– Tarja Rapala-Virtanen