Electrical connectors additively manufactured using a new 3D Systems photopolymer for end use applications have been awarded industry certification, marking another milestone in the adoption of 3D Printing for electrical components.
The foundation of the solution is a newly developed photopolymer that 3D Systems engineered specifically to meet the requirements of sensor and connectivity solutions manufacturer TE Connectivity’s requirements.
Using 3D Systems’ Figure 4 3D Printer and 3D Sprint software to optimise the design and process, a connector was developed to meet stringent heat, flammability and thermal aging needs.
UL regulatory approval has been obtained, including UL94 V0 flame rating at 0.4mm and Glow Wire Ignition of 800°C. 3D Systems says that a Relative Temperature Index for long-term electrical and mechanical use of 150°C and 130°C, respectively also makes it the first printable photopolymer to complete such a study.
The combination of new material properties, speed, and accuracy allows the production of rugged industrial products for the first time, targeted at appliances, cellular and data-centre applications.
By using 3D printing, TE Connectivity gains the freedom to create complex geometries that would be difficult to create using injection moulding and increases flexibility for low volume production runs.
“As 3D printing technology evolves, we’re seeing more opportunities for using it to manufacture products for customers who need a low volume of parts in a short timeframe,” said Philip Gilchrist, VP and segment chief technology officer for Communications Solutions at TE Connectivity. “Our work with 3D Systems enables us to provide our customers with functional parts in just weeks instead of months.”