An interesting new printing process may provide stiff competition for micro and powder injection molding for parts that require complex internal geometries, such as lead frames for semiconductor packages. EoPlex of Redwood City, CA, is now commercializing a technology in which printing equipment manufactures tiny layers of materials that stack up to produce designs with multiple functions. Precise internal curving channels are no problem.
It sounds a lot like the additive manufacturing processes first developed by 3D Systems for rapid prototyping in the 1980s. But there are some fascinating differences. For starters, this not an RP process; it’s strictly for manufacturing. And this process can use almost any materials, including ceramics, metals and plastics.
It looks like a sure bet for antennas used in cell phones as well as IC packaging.