The NextFactory is an All-in-one manufacturing machine designed for rapid prototyping package and micromechatronic systems. Doing away with multiple machines at different locations avoiding shipping and potential delays during production, the NextFactory is designed to produce prototype electronic devices within one day. On one platform, the NextFactory includes 3D printing, microassembly, quality management techniques and simulation tools, essentially covering the whole manufacturing process of many mechatronic microsystems currently produced. Some initial systems the NextFactory has been tested for include sensor systems for food monitoring, embedded die technology and solar cell designs. The machines modular design allows for customization and flexibility as modules can be removed and replaced with different functionality. For example, a 3D printing module could be replaced with a second dispensing unit if many different materials are required to be dispensed.
Full animation can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62iEbJ4A–A
The NextFactory consortium was a collaborative effort by many partners within the EU. The partners include Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, MicroSemi, Sunplugged, Profactor GmbH, Cellasys, Heliotis, Tiger Coatings, Unitechologies SA, The University of Greenwich, RISE Acreo and Arttic.
Here’s what Dr Mats Sandberg from RISE Acreo had to say about the project:
‘The unique integrated combination of additive manufacturing, metrology, micro-assembly, curing and modelling software takes prototyping and manufacturing to a new level. Put in functional inks, components, CAD-files and models, and a working prototype comes out!’
The NextFactory is funded by the European Union and is open for outside partners to test and contribute to the development of the machine and its modules. Visit the NextFactory website for more information: http://www.nextfactory-project.eu