Metal additive manufacturing systems supplier Optomec (Albuquerque, NM) has been awarded a NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to further develop an Adaptive Laser Sintering System (ALSS). The success of this endeavor will enable electronic circuitry to be printed onto a wider variety of temperature-sensitive substrates, expanding its use for production applications. The fully automated system will also enable printed circuitry to be repaired or manufactured with minimal human control.
Working in conjunction with Harding University (Searcy, AR), this project will enhance the company's laser sintering technology to a fully automated curing system for printed electronics. The team seeks to enhance the localized laser sintering concept by developing an ALSS with in situ automated adjustment of laser power and processing time. This will pave the way for using this advanced technology in the next generation of human space exploration, and also expand production use of printed electronics to a broader range of temperature-sensitive substrates used in commercial applications.
The success of this endeavor could prove to be of vital importance to NASA's in-space, on-demand manufacturing capabilities to support the unique challenges of long-duration human spaceflight. The developed automated, in-line quality control system with ALSS will meet the requirements for long-duration human space missions with minimal need for astronaut intervention. This will allow NASA to print conformal electronics and sensors onto flexible substrates of various geometrical complexities, and then fully cure them using Aerosol Jet technology, all while in space.
Optomec has more than 300 marquee customers around the world, targeting production applications in the electronics, energy, life sciences, and aerospace industries.
For more information, please visit www.optomec.com.