AMC(Additive Manufacturing Center)

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AMC is a world leader in Additive Manufacturing by inkjet.
We aim to make AM a major manufacturing method in the fields of Electronics, Healthcare, Textile and Optics.

*AM(Additive Manufacturing) uses inkjet and other printing technologies to selectively stack materials onto desired areas.

Services and Support


Services and Support
  • Ink Discharge Evaluation
    We will verify whether the ink is discharged correctly from the inkjet printhead.
  • Print Evaluation
    We will verify whether circuits and patterns are printed correctly onto the substrate by the inkjet printing device.
  • Prototyping
    We will make prototypes using an inkjet printer or other means according to your request.
  • Contract Manufacturing
    Based on the prototyping results, the manufacturing of the product may be outsourced to us starting from small lots.

Common misconceptions in IJ technology development and Elephantech’s support

  • Any liquid can be used
    There are certain ink properties that are required for inkjet printing suitability, making other manufacturing methods more suitable in some cases.
    → We will evaluate the liquid (ink)’s suitability for inkjet printing based on its properties. In addition, we will compare and verify against other manufacturing methods to help select the most appropriate manufacturing method from a productivity and cost perspective.
  • All printheads can draw equally
    Each company’s inkjet printhead has its own characteristics and the characteristics of the inks it specializes in differ from company to company.
    → We will select the inkjet printhead that is the best match for the ink you wish to use based on the characteristics of each company’s inkjet printhead and provide support in terms of discharge evaluation, drawing evaluation and system construction.
  • Inkjet makes drawing easy
    The waveform, voltage and drawing conditions must be set according to the ink. Fine tuning of the pre- and post-processing on the substrate‘s side is also of great importance, requiring comprehensive adjustments.
    → We will evaluate the liquid (ink)’s suitability for inkjet printing based on its properties. In addition, we will compare and verify against other manufacturing methods to help select the most appropriate manufacturing method from a productivity and cost perspective.
  • Inkjet technologies are easy to use (easy to systemize)
    Inkjet printheads require a variety of adjustments depending on the ink and is a technology that is built up step by step according to your requirements. From a reliability standpoint, there are many items that need to be checked.
    → Reliability is essential in building a mass production system. We will work along with not only printhead makers but also material and equipment manufacturers to support your development.
  • Mass production will be quickly achievable if the results of the sample works are satisfactory
    The road to mass production is a lengthy one, requiring a great deal of time and effort to be put into its preparation, including evaluating various aspects and scrutinizing costs. With a proven track record in mass production, Elephantech can propose a variety of solutions.
    → We will continue to advance the sample works while simultaneously evaluating the hurdles and scenarios that await in the lead up to mass production. We will provide you with appropriate solutions to each of these challenges, including the involvement of third parties when necessary.
  • Inkjet systems are inexpensive to set up
    Industrial printing systems are designed on the premise that they are to be used with special inks and there are also high requirements in terms of print accuracy. As such, high precision, and therefore expensive, systems are needed to ensure continuous stable drawing.
    → Building a system requires coordination with printhead makers, control board manufacturers, equipment makers, suppliers and such on various levels, all of which can end up very costly if not conducted efficiently while keeping the key points in focus. We fully grasp the characteristics of each company and can provide you with the best proposal. In addition, we can provide you with a business prototyping environment through our prototyping and manufacturing services.

Elephantech’s role in society

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In the world of inkjet manufacturing too, we see companies with technologies and budgets overcome the Valley of Death only to get stuck in a second Valley of Death (VoD2).

Elephantech will match large corporations (Launch Customers) with technologies and projects facing VoD2, using the Launch Customers’ PoC budget to set milestones that lead into the mass production phase in Stage 4 and playing the role of driving prototyping processes simultaneously for both business and manufacturing.

Example 1: In the case of flex PCB, Elephantech’s innovation development was combined with the underlying technologies of material suppliers, printhead makers and equipment makers to bring about a scenario in which mass production is successfully achieved by researching technologically feasible and cost-matched specs that satisfy user needs. P-Flex is in Stage 4 as its ultimate goal is to take the production line to market.

Example 2: In the case of IMPC, Elephantech’s innovation development and development support activities were combined with a large number of suppliers as well as Launch Customers such as Tier 1 automotive suppliers to guide mass production users with PoC in their pursuit of mass production while achieving technological superiority, target cost and durability. Stage 3 projects have already been announced.

 
 

The Four Areas Trargeted by the AMC

AMC aims to promote AM in all industries, with a particular focus on the following areas

Electronics
Evolution of compatible materials
Ink
Metal Nanoparticles Inks, Catalyst ink, insulating materials (SR ink, etc.), carbon inks (CNT, etc.), transparent conductive material inks (PEDOT, etc.), glowing inks (for LEC, etc.), solar cell related materials, semiconductor inks, pretreatment agents (primers, etc.), decorative printing inks, etc.
Substrate
PET, PI, PC, low-k materials, biocompatible materials, disposable materials, etc.
Technological applications for P-Flex®
Development of IMPC™ related technologies (resin housing, wiring, connector integrated molding, etc.)
Healthcare
electrochemical sensor
electrochemical sensor
Ag/AgCl bioelectrodes
Ag/AgCl bioelectrodes
Biosensors, etc.

Enzymes, transducers, mediators, insulating layers, etc.


With the present manufacturing method (silk screen printing), the simultaneous coating of multiple enzymes is limited by contamination issues during printing and drying as enzymes for biosensors are deactivated at high temperatures. Inkjet printing provides an attractive solution including in terms of productivity.

Textile
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The use of inkjet printer in textiles is one of the sector that has grown enormously in the last 5-10 years. It has already become a major dyeing method, especially in Europe, where it is appreciated for its low environmental impact. EPSON's print heads are also widely used in this field, and if we developed some kind of functional ink, there are many potential users who would be able to use them immediately.



Expected functionalities
  • Addition of Dyeing
  • Addition of textures (hardness, sharpness, punchiness, etc.)
  • Addition of antibacterial, waterproofing, deodorant and other properties.
Optics

This is a field in which the functions of an optical system is added to transparent materials with a controled refractive index by placing them in desired areas. In particular, there is great expectation for applications in GRIN lenses where shapes that can only be achieved by AM can be useful in a wide range of scenes.

Expected functionalities
・Freedom in setting of refractive index (GRIN lens, etc.), cuts specific frequencies, etc.
・High transparency
・Cuts specific frequencies

Articles concerning the AMC

Articles concerning the AMC

Inquary

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Message from Mr Satoshi Kawamoto, director of the AMC.

Message from Mr Satoshi Kawamoto, director of the AMC.

Greetings. My name is Kawamoto and I was appointed on the 1st of June as the director of the Additive Manufacturing Center.
While Elephantech has already started shipping its "Single-sided Flexible PCB P-Flex®" made by the Pure Additive™ method to the world, the AMC will be promoting a "new way of manufacturing" by advancing the use of inkjet printing and Additive Manufacturing in the fields of electronics as well as healthcare, textiles and optics.

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