Home Applications & Case Studies BMF 3D printing technologies enable compact and high-performance connectors

BMF 3D printing technologies enable compact and high-performance connectors

The printing technology developed by Boston Micro Fabrication (BMF) enables the series production of micro components for the electronics industry. Advanced technologies and new materials are driving this area forward. One notable example is the American Z-Axis Connector Company, whose 3D-printed components can even withstand extreme temperatures in soldering ovens.

Since its foundation in 1995, the manufacturer has specialized in the production of connectors. The product spectrum ranges from large series for consumer goods to micro and miniature connectors for industrial applications. An interdisciplinary team of scientists, engineers and managers develops innovative and competitive solutions that often cannot be realized using conventional methods. Compliance with tight tolerances is particularly important here. However, the 3D printing processes used to date have only achieved an accuracy of up to five thousandths of a millimeter.

With the introduction of a new micro-precision 3D printer from BMF, Z-Axis Connector has been able to push this limit. Precision micro stereolithography (PµSL) now enables an accuracy of one to two thousandths of a millimeter. This opens up new production possibilities for compact and high-performance connectors. A particular challenge was that the elastomeric connectors, which are connected to printed circuit boards, have to withstand a reflow soldering oven that reaches temperatures of 237 °C in a 7.5-minute cycle.

Thanks to BMF’s open material platform, Z-Axis was able to use 3D Systems’ Figure 4 HI TEMP 300-AMB material, which is rated for temperatures up to 300°C. The parts produced using the PµSL process can easily withstand these high temperatures, allowing Z-Axis to maintain their proven manufacturing techniques for electronic systems with 3D printed connectors.

BMF’s technology also enabled Z-Axis to make the transition to surface mount components (SFC). The elimination of through-holes increases manufacturing efficiency, saves space on PCBs and enables more compact designs. This leads to shorter delivery times and lower costs.

Advances in micro-precision 3D printing technology thus offer the electronics industry new opportunities to produce high-precision and temperature-resistant components that meet the increasing demands of the industry.

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