NEXTFAB - MULTIMODAL, FLEXIBLE AND AUTOMATED PILOT LINE FOR HYBRID COMPONENT MANUFACTURING
The NEXTFAB project would provide a multi-technology pilot tool for the 4.0 manufacturing of hybrid components.
Project proposal :
The ambition of the NEXTFAB pilot line is to enable the manufacturing of parts that have electronic functions, using 3D printing. Dielectric materials (engineering polymers) and conductive materials (metals) will be printed by material extrusion or aerosol jet, and the basic components (chips, capacitors, etc.) will be carried over during printing, therefore ending up “buried” in the volume.
3D printing will also produce interconnections. The entire production chain will be assisted by robotic movements, as well as the capture, recording and digital processing of data, and their return for management.
This approach should make it possible to significantly increase the compactness of final parts (miniaturization), to improve the overall performance (reduction of the distances between basic components), but also to reduce the overall mass of each part. This manufacturing approach makes it possible to vastly increase the number of options for design, characteristics, and performance, thus leading to high level personalization for desired parts.
• Integration of a maximum of manufacturing steps (substrate, track deposits, component transfer, interconnections, post-processing, NDT, etc.)
• Interconnected 3D objects with high integration density
• Custom configuration for specific component production
• Quick reconfiguration according to the type of part being produced
• Experimental and scalable tool for implementing new technologies (surface treatment, machine learning, artificial intelligence, data computing, etc.)
Purpose of the project :
The consortium would like the NEXTFAB tool to be made available to manufacturers to enable them to assess the feasibility of a product with a new manufacturing approach and/or the feasibility of new concepts. The consortium is also considering the potential to rapidly bring the product to market as a result of a pilot line that could eventually ensure small series manufacturing (in a time frame extending beyond the project’s end), consequently helping the group to reduce the Time-to-Market of their work.
To do this, the consortium is committed to allowing access to all industrial players who express their interest and, if necessary, to allow them to benefit from duplication of some or all of the line in their own facilities.
The consortium is bringing together 6 technology centers based in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, spread over 4 different sites (Limoges, Bordeaux, Poitiers, Pau) and representing 3 priority regional sectors (Chemistry & Materials, Electronics & Photonics, Digital).
Each center will bring its expertise, its skills, and feedback from its field, to lay the foundations of each stage of the pilot line: direct writing of metal tracks (CTTC, leader), controlled extrusion of polymers (CANOE), laser processing, vision and non-destructive testing (ALPhANOV), product design and non-destructive testing (CISTEME), robotic solutions, automation, vision, control and production management (CRITT Informatique) and capture, digital data processing and management (CATIE).
The pooling of the advanced skills of each partner reflects a cross-sector multidisciplinary approach which is essential to the project’s success. Their contribution to each stage of the pilot line foundations is a key factor in achieving the project objectives.