Rethinking Production Together

3D printers conquer sensor technology layer by layer

Whether it’s for airplane parts, tools, or artificial heart valves – more and more companies are relying on 3D printers in their manufacturing. First Sensor also utilizes the additive method.   

“3D printing involves cumulatively building up materials, layer by layer, using various processes. Currently, this is primarily done using plastics,” Roman Schmidt, Division Head of Software & Systems in the development department. “3D printing is creating entirely new possibilities for mechanical components than was previously possible using traditional processing methods, such as milling, turning, or drilling.”

3D printer

So, it comes as no surprise that the additive manufacturing process is also becoming increasingly popular in sensor technology. Being able to handle electronics and housing and to physically test the interaction of these components is much more informative than seeing a simulation on the computer. In Puchheim near Munich, our engineers even initiated a new manufacturing process and are now able to create pressure channels three-dimensionally within solids. And in Berlin-Weißensee, where complex sensor systems are created, the experts are also happy about structures that could not be produced otherwise – such as a product-specific vacuum pipette.

Digital development assistance

Does this mean 3D printers are the future of sensor production? “In sensor technology, we can make use of more complex housing or components, and the manufacturing possibilities offered by 3D printing in series production are rapidly evolving,” says system expert Roman Schmidt.

Roman Schmidt

With an advanced printing process and more flexible materials, production of certain elements has become simpler. “Highly complex silicon chips cannot yet be manufactured using 3D printing techniques, but sensors are already being embedded in 3D printing. Simple sensor structures can even be printed completely. There will be even more possibilities in the future. It might even be possible to print circuit boards, tiny metallic components, and new materials such as glass in series production.”

Still a long way to go

However, it is likely to be a few more years before 3D printing can be used in large-scale sensor production. Another important point is the improvements in printing technology. For example, depending on the size required, it can take many hours to print all of the thin layers needed to create a finished object. However, the materials that are suitable for 3D printing are becoming more diverse every day and some of them are already as resilient and reliable as the conventional materials used for mechanical processing or injection moulding.







Company
First Sensor is one of the world's leading suppliers in the field of sensor systems. In the growth market of sensor systems, First Sensor develops and produces customer-specific solutions for the ever-increasing number of applications in the industrial, medical, and mobility target markets. Our goal here is to identify, meet and solve the challenges of the future with our innovative sensor solutions early on.
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Our investor relations activities aim at raising the international publicity of First Sensor AG and at consolidating and extending the perception of our share as an attractive growth stock. This means we keep our online communication transparent, comprehensive and continuous in order to enhance your trust in our share.
Tailored Solutions
In the growth market of sensor systems, First Sensor develops and produces customer-specific sensors, electronics, modules and complex systems for the ever-increasing number of applications in the industrial, medical, and mobility target markets. As a solution provider the company offers complete development services from a first draft and proof of concept up to the development of prototypes and finally serial production. First Sensor offers comprehensive development expertise, state-of-the-art packaging technologies and production capacities in clean rooms from ISO class 8 to 5.
Competencies
In the growth market of sensor systems, First Sensor develops and produces customer-specific sensors, electronics, modules and complex systems for the ever-increasing number of applications in the industrial, medical, and mobility target markets. As a solution provider the company offers complete development services from a first draft and proof of concept up to the development of prototypes and finally serial production. First Sensor offers comprehensive development expertise, state-of-the-art packaging technologies and production capacities in clean rooms from ISO class 8 to 5.
Career
Innovation, excellence, proximity – these are our values, our ambition, our drive. Anything less is not an option. Our sensor solutions stand for technical innovation and economic growth. As such, they form the basis for the development and application of new technologies in almost all areas of life. We aim to shape this future together with you.

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