BOURNIAS-VAROTSIS, A. et al., 2015. Embedding of printed electronic interconnections in additively manufactured metal components. Presented at: M5 Universities Advanced Manufacturing Conference, 22 June 2015.
Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing (UAM) is an advanced hybrid manufacturing technology, which enables the embedding of electronic components and interconnections within solid metal structures, due to the low temperature/high plastic flow encountered during ultrasonic bonding. The UAM process is based on the ultrasonic metal welding of thin metal foils in a layer-by-layer fashion. This work summarises the recent advances made towards the integration of UAM with printed electronics and other advanced manufacturing technologies for the encapsulation of conductive tracks between the interfaces of the welded foils. Two different approaches were followed: Screen printing was utilized in the first approach, for the deposition of an insulating polymer layer and silver-loaded conductive adhesive tracks on the surface of an aluminium substrate prepared with UAM. In the second approach, the aluminium foils were surface modified prior to welding, in order to selectively create an insulating ceramic layer directly onto the foil surface. These modified foils were bonded using UAM and a syringe system was used for the dispensing of the silver conductive tracks. The effectiveness and advantages of each of these two methodologies are illustrated and commented upon. The results of this ongoing research project are promising and showcase the successful integration of advanced manufacturing technologies for the fabrication of intricate metal structural electronic components.