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Electroformed metal in orbit around Jupiter: skyrocketing innovation from the space to your industry

Sep 27, 2016 9:44:54 AM By Maarten Nijland

Electroforming of high precision metal parts is a promising asset for the aerospace industry. As a matter of fact, electroformed metal mesh is in orbit around Jupiter as we speak. If electroforming benefits the aerospace industry, can electroforming skyrocket the next innovation in your industry, and how?
The buzz around additive manufacturing did not go unnoticed in the aerospace industry. As the demand for highly complex metal components grows, specialists confirm that additive manufacturing is definitely here to stay.

Take for example the whitepaper ‘Additive Manufacturing in Aerospace: Strategic Implications’ by SmarTech. SmarTech identified four ways how the aerospace industry expects to derive value from additive manufacturing in the upcoming 10 years. These are:

  • Reduction of lead times
  • Reduction of component weight
  • Reduction of both production and operational costs
  • Reduction of the negative environmental impacts of production

Overcoming the challenges of the aerospace industry

Veco has been producing various components for space programs. This type of special component is generally built in low quantities and is highly specialized. 

In a previous study by NASA, eleven orifice fabrication technologies potentially applicable for a liquid droplet radiator were discussed. Best overall results were obtained with Veco's electroformed orifice plates.

A significant example is  NASA's "Solar Wind Around Pluto" (SWAP) instrument used on the New Horizons mission, made by Tecan Ltd, a member of Veco B.V. These bespoke precision meshes consist of a solid, very fine frame with a high precision grid. The apertures and bars are as small as just a few microns.


And then there's Hinode, launched in 2006, it was planned as a three-year mission to explore the magnetic fields of the Sun. Specific filters on this spacecraft are supported on a nickel mesh of 40 Um wires on 390 Um centers. The meshes were specially designed for EIS and electroformed by Veco (formerly known as Stork Veco Inc.) and are 18 Um thick.


Revolutionary for many industries: Electroforming

Electroforming is an additive manufacturing process, specialized for production of high precision metal parts. Its high precision and replicability make it revolutionary not only for the aerospace industry, but also for many different industries such as motion control, medical, semiconductor and electronic components, optical applications security printing, aviation and many more.

A quick how-it-works:
An electrolytic bath is used in this process to deposit metal (nickel, gold, copper) onto a conductive patterned surfaces. The electroformed part can be harvested from the mandrel, once the material is plated in the desired thickness. Its uniqueness is that you can grow metal parts atom by atom, while providing accurate and high aspect ratios. Read the full story on the workings of electroforming here.

Discover the next frontier in innovation for your industry

For decades Veco B.V. has been knwon as the international standard in the Precision Metal industry. Veco is world leader in high precision metal solutions. We build on economies of scale for efficient, consistent & high-quality production, from single pieces to 10’s of millions pieces per year.

If you are ready for the next frontier in high precision metal parts, do not hesitate to contact us - or read our latest whitepaper about electroforming to get a sense of how electroforming might skyrocket your next innovation.

download whitepaper