During the design process, engineers want prototypes that are as close as possible to production-quality. Throughout testing, the ability to meet well-defined requirements is essential. The electronics industry also needs a smooth pathway to market and support for faster manufacturing and efficient assembly. This is where 3D printing of electronics becomes an important element of the product manufacturing process.
Why Not Micro Injection Molding? Cost + Time
Traditionally, manufacturers have used micro injection molding to produce electronic components like connector bases, chip sockets, and brackets for fiber optic arrays.
Molding results in:
- Paying and waiting for tooling, adding to project costs and timelines
- Potentially discarding tooling, if a design changes
And while printed circuit board (PCB) assembly is quicker, some parts under test cannot meet performance requirements.
Why 3D Printing? Speed + Precision
3D printing, or additive printing, eliminates the tooling used in micro injection molding and can reduce time-to-market across multiple design iterations and test cycles. Yet most 3D printers for small parts force engineers to make tradeoffs between production speed, part precision, and surface quality.
Fortunately, BMF’s projection micro stereolithography (PμSL) technology:
- 3D prints small electronic components rapidly
- Prints with the precise features that parts like electronic connectors require
- Uses photopolymer resins with reliable thermal and mechanical properties (important for applications, such as 5G products, where components are exposed to high temperatures, need to connect reliably, and support efficient assembly)
Today, BMF has the only micro 3D printing platform that matches precision injection molding in terms of resolution, size, and tolerance.