Essentium Showcases Its Advancements in 3D Printing at the AMUG21 Conference

Essentium Inc., a leading innovator of industrial additive manufacturing (AM) solutions, at the AMUG 2021 (Additive Manufacturing Users Group) Conference, has showcased how its work with partners and customers, including Mercury Systems and Rolls-Royce, is advancing AM in the aerospace and defense sectors. Throughout AMUG, Essentium is illustrating industrial-scale AM innovation breakthroughs developed in an open ecosystem with customers and partners to deliver unparalleled agility and economics in manufacturing.

Mercury Systems, a leading electronics manufacturer serving customers from government agencies and defense contractors to commercial aerospace businesses and tech companies, needed to address a major bottleneck in the conformal coating manufacturing process for printed circuit boards (PCB). It is critical to prevent the conformal coating from getting into connectors in the PCB in the process. Previously, Mercury used a taping method, which was time-consuming and created bottlenecks in the manufacturing process. It also used injection-molded boots, which allowed technicians to quickly protect PCBs and eliminate labor bottlenecks, but the lead time and cost proved unsustainable. 

To solve these issues, Mercury worked with Essentium to explore the possibilities of additive manufacturing as an alternative to injection-molded materials. Using the Essentium High Speed Extrusion (HSE™) 3D Printing Platform and Essentium's TPU 74D-Z, Mercury was able to design, iterate, and print enough boots for production use in one day, decreasing lead-time by nearly 85%. For the same PCB product order that cost Mercury $9,000 on tooling and parts, the 3D printed equivalent was $500, reducing cost by 95%.

Essentium is also testing and developing new materials and processes using the Essentium HSE 3D Printer for the Department of Defense (DoD) and with related parties to assess the impact of environmental influences on the Essentium materials ecosystem. Said Rob Proctor, Chief of Materials Engineering - Defense, Rolls-Royce: "Materials are appropriately selected for environmental and performance requirements, and for flight-line applications Essentium worked with Rolls-Royce to evaluate the effects of common aircraft fluids on the mechanical performance of Essentium materials."

Beyond ground tooling, the Essentium materials solutions are applicable within the DoD ecosystem to create 3D printed end-use parts for aircraft, assembly lines, logistics solutions, and jigs and fixtures.

According to Elisa Teipel, Ph.D., Chief Development Officer, Essentium, Inc.: "Mercury Systems is leading the way in applying 3D printing technology to make mission-critical technologies profoundly more accessible to aerospace and defense companies. Working with customers and partners, we will continue to introduce new AM materials that unlock enormous speed, economic and innovation advantages for the aerospace and defense industry. Ultimately, we are working together to ensure AM improves manufacture readiness for the warfighter."

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