Smart digital production

AGENT-elF: Printing technologies for the integration of electronic functionalities

Printing processes are a hot topic in today’s industry all over the world. Offering direct integration of additional functionalities into or onto the structural material during production, it creates a completely new »Hardware for Industry 4.0«. The advantages are savings in components and assembly steps, which reduces cost, material consumption and weight. As part of the collaborative project AGENT-3D funded by the BMBF in the initiative »Zwanzig20«, AGENT-elF was approved as a subproject in 2016. The goal of the project is the production of three-dimensional components with integrated electrical functionalities as multi-material systems in one production plant. The whole process is based on dispense printing and all process steps are performed in a closed process chain. As a result, material compositions are produced, which have so far been difficult or impossible to manufacture and in which sensory elements can be integrated as required. The AGENT-elF consortium consists of ten industrial partners, four Fraunhofer Institutes and two universities. It represents all elements of the value chain, from material development to simulation and modeling, process monitoring and plant engineering up to the end user. Fraunhofer ENAS is developing models, measuring methods and evaluation strategies for additively manufactured electrical structures in two subprojects. The results are transferred into technology demonstrators for two selected industrial applications in the field of circuit engineering and thermoelectrics.