Hyb-Man develops hybrid digital manufacturing technologies to produce three-dimensional electronic functions integrated in the structural parts. Hybrid digital manufacturing encompasses the combination of additive manufacturing (3D printing) with assembly and 3D integration of electronic parts, and in-line quality monitoring into one integral production chain. Major opportunities are in flexible and cost-effective production of smart systems, enabling customised electronics for new lighting and automotive products. PROJECT IMPACT Hyb-Man transforms the production of smart electronic systems using hybrid 3D manufacturing methods enabling flexible first-time-right production.
To achieve the ambitions of the Hyb-Man project, three objectives have been formulated which address the major challenges. The first objective is to develop the technologies needed for hybrid 3D manufacturing. This includes 3D printing of mechanical structures that meet the requirements for use in end products, printing of electrical structures in horizontal and vertical directions, and placement and electrical connection of standard components such as LEDs and sensors. Special emphasis is on the mutual compatibility of the technologies, and the inclusion of methods to monitor the progress and quality during manufacturing.
The second objective is to enable first-time right production of systems with integrated mechanical and electrical functionality. First time-right refers to both product designs and controlled processes. This requires deep understanding of the relation between the product properties and the processes, documented in design guidelines. This understanding is created by a combination of numerical modelling and process investigations. Process control is achieved by the integration and combination of various technologies in the proper way, including methods for in-line inspection and control.
The third objective is to demonstrate the hybrid 3D manufacturing approach in two innovative product cases: LED lighting and automotive acceleration sensors. The specifications of these products determine the technology requirements. Dedicated product designs are made, which fit with the selected technologies. Products are manufactured and evaluated against the requirements. This includes environmental and stress testing, to mimic the long-time use in actual products.
The Hyb-Man project enables the capability to bring electronics manufacturing back to Europe, by mastering a complex set of technologies. We brought together material, process, modelling, and design expertise from different partners to develop the combined technologies to the next level. Together the partners have created an eco-system which covers the complete value chain of materials, equipment, product manufacturers/OEMs and end users, which is key to realise commercial manufacturing and to drive market adaptation of 3D embedded electronics. This eco-system provides Europe with a world-leading position which will be difficult to replicate. Economic growth in Europe is further driven by the fact that the manufacturing processes are firsttime-right and highly digitised, enabling cost-effective local production of hightech electronic products in small series.
During the project an end to end approach towards first time-right production has been developed, from material to process to simulation to product. The Hyb-Man partners have demonstrated technical leadership in their field of expertise, which helps to attract talented scientists, designers, developers, and partners, thereby driving further economic growth and impact. In the coming years 7-10 new job positions per year are anticipated in the areas of material and process development, manufacturing, product design, process control, simulation tools and software. This number will increase when applications expand to other areas.
Hyb-Man also creates significant environmental benefits, because material usage is reduced, less transportation is needed due to local production, products can be recycled, and materials reused at end of life. Material usage is reduced by first-timeright production (no need for multiple print runs and less process failures), product designs optimised to achieve the functionality with minimum amount of material, and products made to order (no obsolescence or waste of products on stock). Consumers will benefit from these developments by getting access to new smart products with additional capabilities, new form factors and a reduced environmental footprint.
To read the Hyb-Man project impact summary, please click here.