|[August 26, 2014]
Optomec Receives Order from FAPS Institute to Enable Printing of 'Artificial Muscles'
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --(Business Wire)--
Optomec, a leading provider of production grade additive manufacturing
systems, today announced that the Factory Automation and Production
Systems (FAPS) Institute at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität
Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) has purchased an Aerosol Jet Quad Print Engine.
The versatile print engine will be used to develop an automated
production environment for the manufacturer of artificial muscles (also
known as Dielectric Elastomer Actuators - DEAs) that can be used in
robots, games and medical applications. Because the production of DEAs
requires printing of ultra thin layers of elastomer film, silicone and
electrodes, the ability of Aerosol Jet technology to print a variety of
materials and at dimensions below 10 microns make it ideally suited for
the artificial muscle application.
Aerosol Jet technology is a non-contact direct write printing process
capable of directly depositing a wide range of commercial and custom
electronic materials, including conductor, insulator and biologic
formulations, onto virtually any substrate. Aerosol Jet technology can
print a variety of feature sizes ranging from less than 10 microns to
more than one centimeter using patented aerodynamic focusing nozzles.
Due to its ability to handle electronic and biomaterials within the same
material deposition system, Aerosol Jet systems offer a unique
biomedical micro-device development and production solution that bridges
Engineers at FAPS are looking to Aerosol Jet technology to help
facilitate the transition of DEAs from fundamental research to their
qualification as regular control elements for use in complex and
compliant robots and in lightweight biomimetic prostheses. This requires
the development of an automated production processes for stacked DEAs
that can meet their challenging implementation requirements.
The Aerosol Jet Print Engine is Optomec's workhorse technology for
implementing cost efective and flexible high volume additive
manufacturing systems. The modular Print Engine consists of process
controls and print modules enabling simultaneous printing on up to 4
different substrates, or sequential printing of up to 4 different
materials on the same substrate all on one machine. The Print Engine
also provides an 'open systems' architecture facilitating its
integration with custom or standard commercial automation platforms
making it ideally suited for the FAPS application. Aerosol Jet
technology is also available in turnkey bench top and full lab system
configurations suited for R&D and rapid prototyping. Click
here for more information on Aerosol Jet technology.
"As Aerosol Jet printing technology allows the manufacturing of
homogeneous layers with a thickness below 10 microns, the process seems
very well suited to print stacked DEA composed of Silicone layers as
dielectric medium and Carbon Nano Tube (CNT) compounded silicone
electrodes," said Dr. Sebastian Reitelshöfer, Director of the Research
Sector Biomechatronics at FAPS. "We believe this will be an important
element in the successful production ramp up of DEA-based applications."
"We're pleased to see the unique capabilities of Aerosol Jet technology
being applied to the exciting area of DEAs and helping develop
production grade manufacturing environments for their implementation,"
said Ken Vartanian, VP of Marketing at Optomec. "The research being done
at FAPS holds great potential for many life-changing innovations and
we're proud to be contributing to accelerate the commercial viability of
The FAPS institute was founded in 1982 under the supervision of Prof.
Dr.-Ing. Klaus Feldmann as part of the newly established Production
Technology field at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
(FAU). The institute's overarching objective is the integration of all
the manufacturing factory functions for a comprehensive
computer-integrated concept. Its focus remains on research of innovative
and interdisciplinary manufacturing process approaches to mechatronics
products. More information can be found here: http://www.faps.de/2/home/index.html.
Optomec is a privately-held, rapidly growing supplier of production
grade Additive Manufacturing systems. Optomec patented Aerosol Jet
systems for printed electronics and LENS 3D Printers for metal
components are used by industry to reduce product cost and improve
performance. Together, these unique printing solutions work with the
broadest spectrum of functional materials, ranging from electronic inks
to structural metals and even biological matter. Optomec has more than
150 marquee customers around the world, targeting production
applications in the Electronics, Energy, Life Sciences and Aerospace
industries. For more information about Optomec, visit http://optomec.com.
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