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Dr. Kurt Christenson, senior scientist at Optomec, discusses the company’s Aerosol Jet technology, which eliminates the need for wire bonding by printing interconnects on 3D surfaces. Christenson also explores the current state of the technology and highlights the market segments and applications with the most to benefit from being able 3D print electronic components, such as resistors, capacitors, antennas, and transistors.
Barry Matties: Kurt, can you tell us a little bit about your company?
Dr. Kurt Christenson: Optomec makes additive manufacturing equipment. We have two divisions. One division makes a product called LENS that makes a melt pool in metal with a laser and then sprays powdered metal in to add material. When it cools and freezes, it follows the crystal structure, so we can repair a single crystal turbine blade or make full 3D metal parts. My part of the company makes a product called Aerosol Jet, which atomizes an ink. We don’t care what’s in the ink as long as we can make roughly three-micron droplets.
Then, we aerodynamically focus it down to a size where we can make from 10-micron lines to three-millimeter strips, depending on the need. My personal focus has been on connecting integrated circuits. We call it three-dimensional IC or 3D IC.
Matties: A while back, I did an interview with your colleague [Pascal Pierra] where we discussed printing on the wings of airplanes and such.
Christenson: Yes. That was the Aerosol Jet, which is my side of things. One of the things we do is print on aircraft wings. For instance, antennas on drone wings is a common interest that we get. A second would be heaters on specialty windows or headlight heaters.
To read the full version of this article which originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of Flex007 Magazine, click here.
Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group
Tom Kastner of GP Ventures is a busy man these days. He’s been involved in several M&A deals, including a recent acquisition by Summit Interconnect. Tom spent some time with Dan Beaulieu, who often consults with PCB and PCBA companies, about what it looks like when a company is thinking of buying or selling—and how a consultant like Tom helps negotiate the best deal.
Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
In more than one conversation while discussing the industry this week, the themes have included industry turmoil, lots of business opportunities, and the urgent need to build out to meet changing demands. In fact, our July issue of PCB007 Magazine, which publishes later this month, will focus on these very topics. It’s definitely one not to be missed!
These themes also emerged in this week’s top five news items as well. Top stories include an acquisition in the soldering machinery space, sales and service expansion in Mexico, industry data from SIA on semiconductor global sales data, and strong financial numbers from two China-based manufacturers. Now, with the U.S. Congress putting its focus on the PCB industry, things could really heat up. It’s going to be an interesting year.
Barry Matties, I-Connect007
Today’s students grow up immersed in a world of technology, yet how many of them actually see themselves taking on careers that advance this science? Since many of the jobs for our future workforce haven’t even been created yet, what can be done to encourage students toward STEM careers? In this interview, Barry Matties speaks with Adrienne Collins, director of programs at FIRST Washington, about the success of a student robotics program that fosters innovation, builds problem solving skills, and cultivates a concept that most of us have never heard of—gracious professionalism. When you see the interplay of these skills in action, you are blown away. There’s a bright future ahead.