To increase competitiveness and internationalization of SMEs in jewellery and electronics manufacturing industry, a new Flexible Manufacturing (FM) technique for Highly Detailed, Custom Made Metallic Products by Metal Inkjet Printing is developed. Metal-print will contribute to effective improvement of the development of new products. New FM techniques are indispensable when the need for more complexity in one product at lower cost, increased functions and manufacturing flexibility pushes the requirements far beyond the capability of traditional manufacturing methods. There is a strong need for a FM technique for high end metallic products, which have the technical specifications, appearance and feel of the desired product. There is a strong need for manufacturing of complex one-offs (in jewellery and small series technical parts (e.g. electronic PCBs). FM by Metal-print is a (digital) additive freeform direct fabrication technology for the automated production of complex end products. Technical specifications set by the SMEs are met by the Metal-printing technology, enabling an economically viable, highly automated metal part production process for very small dimensions and short run lengths with reduced impact on the environment. Metal Inkjet Printing meets all requirements for non contact, flexible, digital data driven and low cost by appropriate design of product. The industrial development of Metal-print will be demonstrated by case studies from the jewellery and electronics industry, showing a productivity increase by at least 50%, at 50% costs reduction. RD results from RTDs in the metal printing area is used. Only 3D metal-jetting can evolve into a wide-applicable flexible manufacturing technique for many sectors within a short time. Objective is to development and implement the metal printing technique into the flexible manufacturing technique for fine, functional metal end products of the future (resolving drawbacks of current manufacturing methods).
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Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire