Entering the future
of printed electronics
As a pioneer of flexible and printed electronics, TNO at Holst Centre is at the forefront of new printed electronics developments and it offers an extensive portfolio of technologies. A very promising one is 3D printed electronics, which could boost the design and development process of wearables, medical instruments and chip packaging.
3D printed electronics is an emerging technology at the intersection of 3D printing and printed electronics. It combines structural and electronic manufacturing into a single manufacturing step. The electronic circuits are created using printed electronics technologies as part of the 3D printing production process, embedding them directly into structural components. This means there is no longer a need for separate circuit boards or electronics layers, giving complete design freedom and inherent protection from dust and dirt. The complete product can be printed in one go, which reduces waste and streamlines system integration.
The latest breakthrough from TNO at Holst Centre is the successful implementation of high-resolution printing, which allows for more complex electronic circuits. TNO at Holst Centre is currently building a proof-of-concept machine to create customer prototypes as a stepping-stone for potential end-users to validate the 3D printing process for their products.
3D printed electronics is currently in the early stages of development, but already there is great potential for advanced applications. The size, weight and design advantages are beneficial for multiple fields. There is strong interest from the medical industry, where 3D printed electronics could be used for the production of surgical instruments. And this method could also replace current wiring technologies in semiconductor chip packaging and display use cases.