Electroforming is known to be a high precision manufacturing process for 2 dimensional metal parts. However, some high precision metal parts demands not only extreme accuracy but also more structure in all dimensions. This is when multi-layer electroforming comes into play.
What is Electroforming?
Electroformingis a precision metal fabrication process that forms metal parts through electro-deposition. It is acknowledged to be one of the best technologies in precision metal fabrication industry today. Its uniqueness is that you can grow metal parts atom by atom. The technology allows high replicability while staying highly accurate.
The main reason to add more layers in other directions to a metal part - and therefore create the 3rd dimension - is that multi-layer metal parts provide more delicate structure. Sometimes they can also improve strength to reinforce very thin parts, making them easier to handle and less sensitive for potential damage.
To add multiple layers to the metal parts, the same electroforming process is repeated. With multi-layer Electroforming, 3D or 2.5D structures can be achieved, which opens up the window for demanding high precision components that also demand delicate structures . Below are two applications that benefit from multi-layer structure.
The multiple layers bring new possibilities for many industries that demand precision metal solutions. Below are examples of how multi-layer Electroforming enables breakthroughs in the Digital Printing and Solar Energy industry.
Inkjet Nozzle Plates
Inkjet nozzle plate is a good example of multi-layer electroformed metal part. The image below shows an inkjet nozzle plate and ink chamber. In this case, the nozzle plate was electroformed using the overgrowth method (plating defined), and subsequently the ink chamber was electroformed using the thick resist method (photo defined).
Solar Cell Stencils
Solar cell stencil used for solar cell printing is another good example. Precision stencils are taking place of conventional wire meshes or emulsion screens with increasing demand for energy efficiency in the industry, and electroformed solar cell stencils in particular proved to be the best choice for solar cell printing.
Hard nickel stencils can be electroformed in both single layer and double layer.
Is multi-layer electroforming the right solution for your application?
If your goal is to add more structure to high precision metal parts, multi-layer electroforming might just be the perfect solution for you. Electroforming is the solution to raise the bar on precision, tolerance, cost-effectiveness, and the capability to withstand high temperatures.