(11th October 2023, Karlsruhe, Germany) Having successfully commercialised its suite of in-house coating processes for microstructures this year, Horizon Microtechnologies will be alongside leading micro AM platform developer Boston Micro Fabrication (BMF) at Formnext 2023 on stand B38 in Hall 11.1.
Horizon’s coating processes enhance the functionality of microstructures (predominantly parts produced via micro-AM). By adding non-metallic conductive, environmentally resistant, and metallic coatings to polymer micro-AM parts and components, Horizon’s coatings open up the power of AM to sectors and applications that were until now unable to exploit it due to restricted material options, which in turn restricted part functionality.
Andreas Frölich, CEO at Horizon says, “We are delighted to be at Formnext, and also delighted to be on the booth with BMF, from whom we recently purchased a microArch S240 micro AM machine. Our company has a unique understanding of the micro-AM based 3D microfabrication process chain, and while we provide a suite of post-build coating processes, our ability to now build parts in house on the BMF machine allows us to provide a complete technology infrastructure in-house. This means customers can benefit from a truly vertically integrated solution from design to delivery. It also speeds up the development of our post-build coating technologies which will have a profound impact on industry by continually broadening the use of micro-AM into different application areas.”
The heart of Horizon’s vision is to stimulate the use of micro-AM into application areas previously unable to take advantage of the technology’s inherent agility and manufacturing efficiency due to material constraints.
The company chose to work with BMF as its micro-AM platforms are suitable for both prototypes and end products, and push the boundaries of resolution, accuracy and precision in AM technology and promote miniaturisation with new applications in many industries. The microArch machines use the patented process of projection micro stereolithography (PµSL), which combines the advantages of digital light processing (DLP) and stereolithography, a flash of light triggering the rapid photo-polymerisation of an entire layer of resin. Continuous exposures increases the build speed, and components are built up from the top down in a resin basin, which reduces the need for support structures, all of which helps to streamline the micro-AM workflow for Horizon.
Frölich continues, “At Formnext we want to talk about real applications with customers, and we will have parts on the booth which show the versatility of our coating processes, and the intricate parts that can be made on the microArch S240. Horizon can act as an end-to-end product development and contract manufacturing partner, influencing the design of micro AM parts to optimise them for end-use functionality and also optimise them for the application of our proprietary coating technologies. We can wholly or selectively coat micro-AM parts with a non-metallic conductive layer, add environmental resistance to parts enabling the creation of microscale devices that are more durable, reliable, and better suited for use in harsh environments — such as in the presence of aggressive chemicals and/or high temperatures, and can wholly or selectively coat micro-AM parts with copper.”
Horizon’s metallic copper coatings are typically in the 1-2 micron thickness range, which is sufficient for many applications. Importantly, the company’s process can also coat internal channels and undercuts to some degree, the channel’s aspect ratio being the limiting factor now rather than the absolute length. This is a huge advance for copper coating of micro-AM templates.
Come along to Hall 11.1 booth B38 at Formnext, and see the future of micro AM today. The Horizon team will be on hand to discuss how its post-build coating processes can allow innovation across an array of industry sectors.