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Electroforming in a world of additive manufacturing

Jun 14, 2016 10:00:00 AM By Harrie Knol

Additive manufacturing: it's a hot topic in the world of manufacturing. Manufacturers are just starting to realize how additive manufacturing can enable their innovation.


While various industries are increasingly looking for ways to create smaller component parts, the demand for Micro Manufacturing through additive manufacturing grows. Electroforming is one of those additive manufacturing processes that has been around for decades. How do its unique characteristics turn it into a future proof solution for many industries?

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High Precision

To meet industry needs, parts need to be created at micron or even submicron level - something conventional techniques (such as laser cutting or stamping) simply can’t do. With electroforming, you add (grow) metal one particle at the time, instead of taking away material to form a piece of metal into a final product.

Electroforming does not work with droplets or particles (something you see in 3D printing) but builds metal atom by atom.

You are able to “grow” material on micro scale accuracy, providing absolute accuracy and high aspect ratios. Just to give an idea: experts claim standard deviation of electroformed parts is less than 1 μm (= 0,001 mm) of the materials thickness.

Large volumes

The size of metal parts get smaller by the day, while volumes – on the other hand - get bigger and bigger. Speaking of 'big numbers in a micro world'...

The reason is simple: solutions need to be future proof. This often means that the quality of the metal parts should be replicable to larger volumes. Electroforming is a highly suitable additive manufacturing process to produce large volumes.

The substrates on which the metal is grown allow manufacturers to grow as much metal parts as wanted – sometimes even 100.000 at a time. To grow this material, electroforming builds large substrates (sizes can be from 1 up to 1,5 meter).

Perfect repeatability

The electroforming process allows extremely precise duplication of the mandrel. High resolution of the conductive patterned substrate allows for finer geometries, tighter tolerances and superior edge definition.

This results in perfect process control, high quality production and very high repeatability, all of which make electroforming a perfectly suitable additive manufacturing process for low cost production and high volumes.

Develop a Prototype

  

About Veco B.V.

For decades Veco B.V has been regarded as the international standard in the Precision Metal industry. It is for a very good reason that we are the global market leader of high precision metal solutions such as electroforming, laser cutting and etching in a multitude of fields. Our customer base is limited only by our imagination.


Flow related applications
Building on accurately defined holes, from single hole products to meshes of millions of holes, for atomization and separation.

Optical applications
Building on accurately defined and sharp edges, for measuring equipment and (micro)scopes.

“Microscopic” parts

  • Building on small & accurate freeform geometries in industrial scale quantities
  • Industrial scale production facility for electroforming, etching & laser cutting

World Class Manufacturing

Building on economies of scale for efficient, consistent & high-quality production, from single pieces to 10’s of millions pieces per year.

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