Invented by Robert Ghanea-Hercock, British Telecommunications PLC

The Market For Method For Manufacturing An Article With An Integral Electronic Component

The market for Methods for manufacturing an article with an integral electronic component is growing rapidly. This process offers a convenient, straightforward and economical means of mounting small electronic components on a first board using photo-curing conductive adhesive.

This allows manufacturers to produce large numbers of products quickly and with minimal delays, while also conducting electronics quality control on each individual item.

Manufacturing Process

Manufacturing processes refer to a series of steps that transform raw materials into finished goods. They’re employed in industries such as food and drink, textile products, apparel, woodworking and chemical products.

Some manufacturing processes are more common than others. Some use just one step, while others require multiple steps to reach the same result. Some even utilize multiple processes for different parts of a single product.

Five primary types of manufacturing exist: forming, molding, drawing, joining and machining. These processes are employed for various goods and can be tailored to fit customer requirements.

Forming is a technique for shaping raw materials into desired shapes. It’s commonly employed when working with pliable materials like plastic and glass.

Molding, on the other hand, is a manufacturing process that employs rigid frames to enclose liquid or pliable raw materials. This technique is typically utilized when working with plastic and metal materials.

Joining is a technique that utilizes thermal and mechanical methods to assemble two or more materials together. It’s commonly done when working with aluminum, brass, and plastic inputs.

Finally, machining is a manufacturing process that utilizes a machine to cut or shave material into smaller pieces. It’s commonly employed with aluminum, brass, paper and plastic inputs.

These five manufacturing processes share some similarities, yet also distinctive differences. Discrete manufacturing produces items that can be identified easily such as personal computers and home appliances. Unlike many other processes, this one involves a bill of materials which outlines all component parts and raw materials needed to construct one distinct item.

This manufacturing process is relatively straightforward and can be tailored to the needs of the consumer. It is a widely-used technique in electronics production.

Industry analysts report a stunning growth rate for the market for articles with an integrated electronic component, due to consumers’ desire for new and creative ways to enhance their daily lives.

Electronic Components

The market for Methods of manufacturing an article with an integral electronic component is highly competitive, as the components used must meet various quality and durability criteria as well as adherence to environmental and other regulations.

To meet these demands, manufacturers must create a supply chain that is reliable, cost-effective and adaptable to changing market conditions. A healthy supply chain can help boost productivity levels, cut expenses and manage risks throughout the lifecycle of a product.

Manufacturers face a major challenge in managing the risks associated with electronic parts. These could include counterfeit and substandard items that do not meet industry standards, geopolitical risk management issues, environmental and export compliance matters and production change notices (PCNs).

Designers must take steps to avoid these risks by selecting suitable parts for their products. To make this decision, they need to utilize a comprehensive Electronic Part Database (EPDB).

With an EPDB, engineers can quickly locate, evaluate and select electronic parts for their designs. Furthermore, they can monitor the status of those parts with current and historical datasheets, as well as any changes to availability.

Additionally, they can create bills of materials (BOMs) to guarantee the correct materials are sourced for their projects. Furthermore, they generate production rates for electronics manufacturing processes so they can guarantee a finished product will be delivered on schedule.

Another key concern is component obsolescence. Manufacturers must respond to periodic product discontinuance notices (PDNs) which indicate a decline in demand for a specific component. When faced with this dilemma, they have three options: stock the discontinued part before it’s removed from circulation, redesign the product or find an appropriate replacement.

An integrated PLM solution is essential to managing all these aspects of the product lifecycle. It enables controlled changes to circuit designs, which then feed through engineering and production processes so they can be implemented into electronics manufacturing quickly rather than taking months. The result is a smoother, more efficient end-to-end product cycle.

First Article Approval

The first article inspection process is a design verification step commonly employed in industries such as aerospace, medical device and automotive. This ensures that new production lines produce parts which adhere to manufacturing specifications outlined in technical or engineering drawings.

First article inspections are essential for certain industries, as they often require high-precision components or products that may not hold up during mass production. A first article inspection can prevent a product from being destroyed due to poor quality or incorrect set-up.

It is essential to know the proper way to conduct this inspection. In some cases, FAI can be done before the first production run is finished so any issues identified can be rectified prior to starting a new production run. On the other hand, first article inspection can also be conducted after an interruption has taken place in production.

When planning the initial article inspection, select a sample part representative of your production processes (which is often random) taken from the initial production run as it was produced. Then perform tests to confirm that components are produced according to desired design specifications.

This step can be automated with software. In fact, some solutions even integrate with your ERP system to automatically send the first article inspection forms to the appropriate parties for approval.

In this process, it’s essential to have strong governance and control over the entire first article inspection process. This can be accomplished through standard workflows that establish consistent processes for how all first article inspection forms move through your organisation and are approved.

An FAI report typically consists of three forms: Form 3: Characteristic Accountability, Balloon Drawing (also known as Bubble Drawing), and Test Results. Each form must include all required information for the FAI part, such as all dimensions and tolerances, drawings notes, measurements results.

The ballooned drawing is an integral component of Form 3. It contains all design characteristics, each with its own numbered balloon for traceability purposes. This step in the first article inspection process ensures all requirements for production have been fulfilled and every design characteristic accounted for.

Quality Control

Quality control is the process that guarantees a product meets certain quality requirements. It includes testing and inspections as part of its evaluation.

Quality control is the most crucial step in manufacturing. Not only does this save you money in the long run, but it also makes your products more dependable.

Quality inspections can be utilized to guarantee that a product meets the standards established by your company. Some are straightforward, while others necessitate specialized equipment and expertise.

In-process inspection is a widely used form of quality control testing. It’s typically conducted by an experienced technician and provides factories with the opportunity to quickly take action if any mistakes are identified.

Statistical quality control is an inspection technique that uses probability to detect issues in products. It works by randomly sampling items on your production line to assess whether they meet the overall standard.

Inspections can be conducted before, during and after each stage of the manufacturing process. This helps factories identify any issues that could cause issues down the line and helps reduce scrap losses and errors.

Establishing a Quality Assurance program requires selecting which inspections are of paramount importance for your business and manufacturing processes. After selecting these, select appropriate equipment and tools for each step in the inspection procedure.

For instance, if your product requires testing before being sent out for customer delivery, working with an accredited testing laboratory is recommended. These professionals can check for hazardous chemicals and verify your products meet federal regulations such as CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act).

In addition to guaranteeing your products meet all regulatory requirements, a good QC program can also enhance customer satisfaction and brand image. By avoiding issues which could harm customers, they’ll be more inclined to buy from you again in the future.

The British Telecommunications PLC invention works as follows

An additive manufacturing process is used to manufacture an article with an integral electronic component. It involves the following steps: 1) Form a nonelectrically conductive substrate; 2) Form a nonelectricallyconductive perforated layers having an aperture; and c) Place an electrically conductive cathode and anode elements in the aperture. 3) Deposit a conductive electrical link to each element that can impart an electrical potential difference; and 4) Form a nonelectricallyconductive sealing layer on top of the perforated laminate so as to seal the perforated aperture.

Background for Method for manufacturing an article with an integral electronic component

Additive Manufacturing, also known by three-dimensional (3D) Printing, is a method of creating a three-dimensional solid object from a model, such as a digital one, using an additive process. Material is layered, adhered and bonded successively until it is formed. This is in contrast with traditional manufacturing techniques that use parts to form articles. These parts can be machined, cast, or molded.

There are many advantages to additive manufacturing over traditional manufacturing techniques. These include technical and commercial benefits. The technical advantage of additive manufacturing is that it allows almost any arrangement of three-dimensional objects to be made from a growing variety of materials, such as plastics, metals, and ceramics. Because additive manufacturing can create complex structures, the arrangement can contain complex features even internally. The advantages of additive manufacturing include less waste, a higher consistency in articles, faster manufacture with minimal setup, and the ability to create new structures and shapes using novel materials.

Commercially additive manufacturing offers significant cost-savings over traditional manufacturing methods, especially when the number of articles to be manufactured is small. With additive manufacturing, you can easily produce prototypes, proofs-of-concepts or spare-parts as well as articles that are manufactured in remote or isolated locations such space or orbit. A three-dimensional article can be made from a 3-dimensional design in a relatively short time.

Additive manufacturing can be done in many ways. An example of additive manufacturing is extrusion deposition. This involves extruding beads of material in controlled ways using a moveable extruder (print-head?) A moveable table or support, or both. The beads are extruded quickly to form a layer of article or part onto which more extrusion can be done. This is how the article is assembled additively.

An alternative method is to selectively fuse granular materials, such as selective sintering of melting metals or polymers. This method involves granular material being deposited in layers, then selectively sintered, melted, or bonded with, for example, convection heating, laser, or electron beam. This selection is based on a three-dimensional model of the article in layers. This allows the article to be built up additively.

Additive manufacturing cannot be used to make complex electronic components. Although additive manufacturing is used to print planar circuit boards with component sockets, interconnects, and trenches for electrical connections, it also has applications in the placement, installation, and/or assembly for electronic and electrical components. This requirement for post-manufacture assembly and/or installation has the considerable disadvantage that component locations, sockets and routes must be accessible in an additively-manufactured product. Accordingly, the hugely beneficial characteristics of additive-manufacturing of accurately producing complex, internalised and potentially inaccessible structures are entirely lost in the electronic field. Additional manufacturing steps, such as post-manufacture installation and assembly, can significantly reduce the benefits of additive manufacturing.

It would be beneficial to make electronic devices using additive manufacturing methods without the aforementioned drawbacks.

The present invention provides, therefore, a method for manufacturing an article having an integral electronic component. It involves: using an additive manufacturing process to form a substrate; b), form a perforated non-electrically conductive layer with an aperture; and c) form an electrically conductive cathode and anode elements spaced in that aperture; and d) place a conductive electrical link to each element suitable to impart an electrical potential difference; and e) form an non-electricallyconductive sealing layer

The present invention provides for the production by additive manufacturing of three-dimensional articles. This manufacturing process can be used to produce a three-dimensional article with potentially complex internal characteristics. Active electronic components like triodes and diodes can be integrated within the article’s fabric. Because active electronic components are integrated into the article manufacturing process, it is not necessary to install or post-production assembly of electronic components. The manufacture of articles with electronic components installed can be done simultaneously with the manufacturing of the article’s substantive three-dimensional structure. This eliminates the need to consider post-production assembly and the installation of electronic parts, such as the burden approaches in the prior art which require multi-part manufacturing with easily accessible integration interfaces. The use of additive manufacturing reduces the cost of production, particularly in small quantities, such as prototyping and proof-of-concept manufacturing, or remote or inaccessible locations, such as orbit or space.

The absence of any additional components or appendages will result in the incorporation of active electronics into the fabric of a three-dimensional article. This will reduce its overall weight. Articles can be simplified by having electronic componentry embedded in the article. This is possible because the electronic components are hidden, invisible, and/or not obvious. The active electronic component embedded within the article can be protected against fluids like moisture and air. Additive manufacturing allows for articles to be produced on a micro-scale. Electronic componentry can be included in articles. This includes electronics embedded in cell phone cases or covers; electronic components embedded in cable sheaths; electronic components embedded in fabric or clothing; electronic components embedded in cases, covers or other structural elements of devices like consumer or entertainment devices; spare parts; and the rest.

The elimination of the requirement to have an electrical circuit accessible and its component locations available for post-manufacturing assembly/installation dramatically changes how electronic circuits and devices can be designed and implemented within articles of manufacture. The embodiments of the invention allow for three-dimensional arrangements of active electronics components and their connections without the need for access to individual components. This allows for a greater efficiency in space and volume, as well as the possibility of active electronic parts being reused by other circuits within the same device. Vertical interconnects are able to provide three-dimensional processing elements, such as cubics or other three-dimensional arrangements of electronic parts and circuits. An electronic component can be layered with multiple active components in a single article. Using a variety of service layers, such as metal layers to provide power or layers of thermally efficient conductor materials for heat transfer or dissipation, common services like power provision, power dissipation, and the like, can be provided. It is possible to create channels and conduits, which are part of the additive production process, to allow fluids to flow through the article. This allows for heat transfer from the article.

The thermionic electronic component’s advantages over silicon transistors is a particular benefit. Thermionic electronic components are robust and have better analogue signal transfer characteristics. Thermionic components have a high resistance to electromagnetic pulses, solar flare activity, and are therefore ideal for use in satellite technology or critical infrastructure systems.

Though the use of thermionic electronics components has been mostly superseded with semiconductor equivalents, inventors have realized the surprising benefits of such parts in the field. This is based on the simplicity of manufacturing such component, capabilities which are now available in the field additive manufacturing, their effectiveness and reliability.

Preferably, one or more of the following: the substrate, perforated layers, and sealing layer. The channel provides fluid communication between the aperture, an evacuation port, and the article. The evacuation port can be used to evacuate the aperture of gas, so that it generates vacuum-like conditions within the aperture.

Preferably, the additive manufacturing process is performed in a sealed atmosphere consisting substantially of an inert gases so that the inertgas can be encased in the aperture upon formation of the sealing layers.

Preferably, the cathode and anode are placed on opposite sides of the aperture.

Preferably, the cathode is centrally located in the aperture. The anode occupies at most part of the wall of the aperture.

Preferably, the additive manufacturing process includes an exptrusion deposition process.

Preferably, the additive manufacturing process includes an granular material binding process.

Preferably, the method also comprises: using additive manufacturing to form a filament component in thermal proximity to the cathode in order to induce thermionic emissions by the cathode.

Preferably, the method also includes using additive manufacturing to: create a conductive grid element spaced between the anode-cathode elements; deposit a conductive electrical connection to grid for providing an electric signal to grid; so that the grid regulates electron transmission from the cathode into the anode.

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