3D printed electronics at Holst Centre, progress and challenges

by Hessel Maalderink, Holst Centre

There is a growing demand for printed (PCB-less!) electronic devices. Holst Centre is involved in various research programs (both shared and contract) targeted at developing technologies to enable production of such printed electronics.

The developments are triggered by the following drivers:

  • smaller
  • lighter weight
  • flexible
  • robust
  • smart
  • more sensitive (sensors)
  • more active (actuators)
  • connected
  • personalized

For many applications single layer designs do not suffice, and more complex 3-dimensional solutions need to be developed.

This is done either by stacking functional layers in sheet-to-sheet or roll-to-roll processes, or by novel freeform processes based on Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) technology.

The talk discusses highlights and challenges of 3D printed electronics achieved during the past year. This includes: LIFT, face-up component integration, via-printing and solder-less connection technology.

program: https://www.3dprintingelectronicsconference.com/program/


What drives you?
Additive Manufacturing (also known as 3D printing) has enabled us to substantially reduce the time and money needed for product development. It is my strong belief that in the near future, as technology evolves, it will also enable us to produce complex parts in small volumes at any location in the world. In some markets this is already happening! Now imagine the possibilities if even programmable electronics can be integrated into these devices during printing…

Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
In my presentation i will address the progress and challenges related to AM-based 3D printing electronics developments in Holst Centre.

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
Novel devices and materials for direct writing of conductive structures, and technologies for forming complex 3-dimensional structures.

What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
Smaller and lighter products, higher level of integration and/or complexity, high mix/low volume production.

What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
There is still a lot of research needed to enhance production yield and reliability, and to reduce cost.

“Special quote”
The future belongs to those who create it.

About Hessel Maalderink

After graduating for a bachelor’s degree in Automotive Engineering in 1995, Hessel worked for several years as a product designer and engineer for NedCar Automotive and as manager of the R&D department for ECS electronics. In 2001 he joined the Additive Manufacturing (AM) research group at TNO, specializing in Selective Laser Sintering and Stereolithography technology. In 2016 he became member of the AM SYstems Center, a collaboration between TNO and the Eindhoven Technical University, focussed at developing next generation Additive Manufacturing processes and equipment, with a special focus at integrating electronics. End of 2018 he became part of Holst Centre, and is now devoted to applied research in the field of 3D printed electronics.

About Holst Centre

Holst Centre is an independent R&D center that develops technologies for wireless autonomous sensor technologies and flexible electronics, in an open innovation setting and in dedicated research trajectories. A key feature of Holst Centre is its partnership model with industry and academia based around roadmaps and programs. It is this kind of cross-fertilization that enables Holst Centre to tune its scientific strategy to industrial needs.