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NextFactory Report Summary

Project ID: 608985
Funded under: FP7-NMP
Country: Germany

Periodic Report Summary 2 - NEXTFACTORY (All-in-one manufacturing platform for system in package and micromechatronic systems)

Project Context and Objectives:
The main achievements after 18 months of cooperation are:
The main goal of NextFactory is to develop a new kind of manufacturing system for system-in-package and micromechatronic systems based on a combination of 3D freeform printing and ultra-precision 3D-assembly technologies. Within the first period, major development has been achieved, laying the basis to reach the project final goals. Starting from the process specification and a first version of the system architecture, a set of specifications has been derived as principal guideline for all upcoming development activities. These developments included process adaption for 3D freeform printing based on piezo-inkjet and microdispensing technologies, 3D-micro-assembly and inline inspection technologies. All those processes were adapted not only to the needs of microsystems but also to certain boundary conditions necessary to achieve the complete integration of all processes into an all-in-one manufacturing system. In parallel to the process developments, suitable bulk-materials for inkjet-printing and dispensing technologies were developed and in case of conducting materials extensive market research has been made to find suitable silver-inks and pastes as conducting material. Both – process and material development – lay the basis for a first system mock-up which will be used in the upcoming months to proof feasibility by producing test-structures that were defined during the specification phase at the beginning of the project. On the basis of this mock-up, the condition based-monitoring algorithms, that were developed during the first period will be validated and further detailed. In parallel to close interaction with the process development, a first concept for the final NextFactory machine has been developed and discussed, providing the framework for the machine design and setup, which begins after the completion of the mock-up phase in M21.
In parallel to the technical achievements, the communication to the public and also the planning of the NextFactory exploitation activities started at early stage and future activities described in a detailed plan. 6 months from project start, the official project website was launched. During the last 3 months of period 1, the presentation of the project results and goals to expert audiences started, notably at two important trade-fares, in order to kick-off the User Community.

Project Results:
In Work Package 1 the deliverable 1.1 “V1 Use Case requirements and specifications" has been finalized.
Definition of the UC trials and tests has been implemented. For UC1 the design has been finalized and the first promising simulation results have been reached.

In Work Package 2 the Integration Methodology Workshop has been organised to discuss the NextFactory System and to collect all the necessary requirements, creating a common understanding of the overall system among all partners.
D2.2 “V1 NextFactory Reference Documentation” was finalized in collaboration with other work packages, including the following aspects:
• Process Chain Model for V1 (refer to Sub-Task 2.1.1)
• System Architecture and generic process module specification V1 (refer to Sub-Task T2.2.1)
• Generic Material Specification (refer to Sub-Task2.3.1)
The Integration Methodology Workshop in M3 took place. Systems architecture and options have been defined

In Work Package 3 The first machine layouts (separate modules, integrated modules, and unique platform) have been developed in M13, as well as the first software architecture has been implemented. The first version of machine specification: mechanical and software integration has been finalised in M18. Based on this, UT set up a internal document concerning the manufacturing plan for V0 of the machine including a detailed description and schedule.

The activities of the work package 4 focused on the development of inkjet inks compatible with 3D printer to be developed during the project. In Work Package 4 the MS2 V1 NextFactory Reference Documentation was finalised. D4.1 “Requirements specification for all NextFactory materials” was submitted.

◄For the insulating materials formulation, printing and optimisation mark the main achievements in this WP.

For conductive materials market screening, printing and adaption to processability have been implemented
For the functional materials market screening on dispensing conductive materials, on sealing materials (moisture barrier) and on biocompatible materials have been carried out.

For support materials formulation, printing and optimisation have been carried out.
Printing materials (insulating, support and conductive) have been and the first printing of test structures for UCs partners are ready to be tested, too.

In Work Package 5 The specification of the interfaces of V1 process modules and of the individual processes has been provided in M6.On this basis, version 1 of the assembly module with grippers and dispensers, a printing module and an inspection module have been realised.
A first set structure have been realised with the modules by combining 3D-prinitng; assembly and dispensing. In close collaboration with WP2 the specification of the communication and the commands for the V2 modules has been started. The mechanical interfaces and the outer dimension of V2 modules have been also defined.

In Work Package 6 prototype (version 1) multi-physics models were developed and demonstrated to partners. A plan for developing surrogate models is underway.
Besides, key measurable process parameters and machine learning algorithms have been identified and demonstrated. ►

WP7 – Proof of Concept Development has not started yet

In Work Package 8 a detailed plan of the communication and exploitation activities until project end and beyond has been developed by the Exploitation Committee. The plan describes the strategy for developing a NextFactory-specific business model and building a sustainable user community to enable the commercialisation of the NextFactory Machine after project end. In addition, the public website ( was set up providing information about the project and the consortium, news, dissemination materials and a registration page to join the NextFactory Community.

Work Package 9 ensured the on-time submission of all project deliverables up to M18. Regular budget monitoring was performed to be able to identify and resolve potential problems at an early stage.
A secure collaborative web platform was set up for the project consortium to share and exchange information, data and documents.
Highlights in WP9 were the regular project meetings, including the kick-off meeting in Stuttgart (DE), and the first consortium meeting in Sweden.

Potential Impact:
The expected final outcome of the NextFactory project is to develop and validate a new type of all-in-one manufacturing technology combining, for the first time, in a single piece of equipment, 3D freeform printing and ultra-precision 3D assembly. This highly flexible and scalable facility will empower microsystem manufacturers - and in particular SMEs - to effectively produce highly miniaturised Smart Products-in-Package (SPiPs) both in small series and high-throughput production of large parallel batches.

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