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Using Additive Manufactured Electronics for Unique and Rugged Applications

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Conference Abstract: Additive Manufactured Electronics (AME) is gaining recognition and has an expanding number of companies offering diverse technologies that are contributing to the field. Early demonstrations using AME were simple but not useful beyond demonstrators. Just like any new technology, early adopters are critical to the initial growth curve. For AME to thrive, it is essential to target high value, high dollar applications that have a three-dimensional need. While the industry has demonstrated that complex electronics can be produced at low costs for high-volume applications, using AME in such scenarios would be costlier and have inferior performance compared to traditional electronic design methods. However, for specialized applications that cannot be done using traditional manufacturing approaches, AME offers both performance and cost savings. Unique applications range from adding electronics to small objects or to very large objects conformally. Applications can now be three dimensional electronics with curves. The Department of Defense has some unique challenges in all aspects of their mission. Their vehicles, air, ground and sea and their munitions are all uniquely shaped and diverse in size and requirements. AME has the potential to address many of these challenges, including the most rugged and aggressive environments. This talk will present results from AME interconnects testing as well as demonstrations of electrically functional electronics that are uniquely shaped. Additionally, process steps for how AME can be used to fabricate electrically functional devices from a digital file will be laid out.