Micro 3D Printing For Emerging MEMS And Microfluidics Applications

BY Nita Vaidya-Zannino

Boston Micro Fabrication (BMF) is a leader in microscale 3D printing systems aimed towards short-run industrial production of micro-sized devices. The newest printer in BMF’s line enables larger build volumes, faster printing speeds, and supports the use of industrial-grade materials. BMF’s 3D printers provide MEMS designers with an alternative to micromachining processes that require multiple steps and can only create low-aspect ratio devices. Unlike surface micro machining, BMF’s tools can create micro-devices with high aspect ratios. Plus, with its faster build times, BMF’s printers also offer advantages over bulk micro machining, which is slow to etch and requires bonding to form complex structures. We recently spoke with BMF’s CEO John Kawola about the company’s history, recent accomplishments, current traction in the marketplace, and plans for the future.

MEMS Journal: What’s origin for BMF’s technology and how has the company evolved over time?

John Kawola: BMF was founded in 2016 by Dr. Nick Fang from MIT, Dr. Xioaning He, a serial entrepreneur, and Dr. Chunghua Xia, a technologist with experience micro-fabrication techniques. The company was founded to match an emerging additive manufacturing technology, called projection micro-stereolithography (PuSL) with an unmet need for prototyping and short run fabrication for components in the sub-50 um tolerance range. This scale requires very high precision and previous 3D printing methods had failed to provide the performance needed. The company was founded, the platform developed, and first systems shipped in Asia starting in 2018. In early 2020, BMF launched in the U.S. and Europe and the company has grown strongly establishing first customers.

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