Pulse Electronics printer can print conductors and circuits directly onto 3D surfaces. Demonstrates how manufacturing processes will look in the future.

For the past 100 years, electronic products have been built discretely with components fitted and then wired up. The first radios were made of wooden boards with pins hammered into them and wires wrapped around them. Fast forward to today when the latest smartphones use multilayer PCBs with components placed on by machines.

Manufacturing techniques (such as pick and place), have allowed mass production of devices which has revolutionized how technology is integrated into everyday life. But there is one issue with current production methods which becomes apparent once a device goes into production. In many cases, products contain bugs or mistakes which must be fixed. This process may include changing a component value, routing a PCB trace differently, or even using a completely different part.

This act of making alterations in the design stage trickles down all the way to the factory floor. BOMs may need to be changed, technical documents may have to be updated, and even adjustment to a customized fabrication line might be necessary. These changes cost money and take time, which can result in either products not being updated as quickly as they should be or production being halted altogether.

 

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3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing, News