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18 The PCB Magazine • January 2015 tages. If the interconnects can be printed inside a housing, there is no more need for a printed circuit board. This is not only a cost-saving ad- vantage, but also an environmental advantage. Furthermore, the assembly steps of integrating the PCB into a housing is no longer needed, which is another cost-saving argument. If some of the components can be part of the printed interconnects, then these components are no longer needed as conventional THT or SMT components. If we could first place components and secondly print the copper interconnects, no more solder paste would need to be applied and no reflow process would be needed either. The solder paste, however, probably needs to be replaced by a gluing process to hold the com- ponents in place especially if components will be placed in a three-dimensional way. Reducing production steps could lead to faster produc- tion cycles. This is especially true if this process could simplify a current complex sub-assembly, but for sure it will lead to a reduction of floor space and energy cost. Several very interesting features should be thoroughly investigated for the electron- ics industry, as well as the mechanical seg- ment. The next steps are pushing the techni- cal limits and challenging the industry. TNO, a research institute in The Netherlands, has started with a strategic research program on the topic of 3D printed electronics to develop new techniques and further develop existing techniques in close cooperation with the elec- tronics industry and its partners. We expect that due to fast developments in 3D printing, the technology will mature in the coming years into a cost-effective approach for elec- tronics industry. PCB CAN THE ELECTRONICS INDuSTRy uSE 3D PRINTING? continues arjen Koppens is sales manager at Dima group B.V. realtimewith.com CliCk To View ViDEo intErViEw i-Connect007 Publisher Barry matties discusses the distribution collabora- tion between WKK and esi. Joining matties are WKK's Hamed el-abd and esi's mike Jennings. WKK Cooperates with ESI to Deliver Top Technology by Real Time with... HKPCA 2014 FEaturE

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