Revolutionizing Connector Manufacturing: High-Heat Resistant 3D Printed Solutions

Z-Axis Connector Company, founded in 1995, is a leading privately held firm specializing in connector manufacturing.

Whether for high-volume consumer applications or micro-miniature connectors, its team of experienced scientists, operators, engineers, and managers is committed to manufacturing creative, cost-effective connectors that fulfill various needs.

Potential clients frequently contact Z-Axis because a conventional, off-the-shelf connector does not work for their application. One of Z-Axis's most important design considerations was meeting the connectors' required precise tolerances. Traditional 3D printing processes could only achieve tolerances of 5 thousandths.

Looking for a Solution

This prompted Z-axis to explore other options, which led it to Boston Micro Fabrication’s (BMF) micro-precision 3D printers. Z-axis quickly discovered BMF’s technology enabled tolerances of 1 or 2 thousandths, opening up new possibilities for compact, high-performance connectors.

One of the primary challenges Z-Axis faced was ensuring compatibility with standard electronic assembly processes. Elastomeric connectors have to survive high-temperature soldering processes without losing their integrity.

Z-Axis used 3D Systems Figure 4® HI TEMP 300-AMB material on BMF’s pen platform, engineered to resist temperatures up to 300 °C. The PC Boards had to go through a solder reflow oven, which heated up to 237 °C in a 7.5-minute cycle.

The BMF parts could resist severe temperatures, allowing Z-Axis to use regular electronic system production procedures with 3D-printed connectors.

3D printed connector mounted on a PC board.

3D printed connector mounted on a PC board. Image Credit: Boston Micro Fabrication (BMF)

Close up of 3D printed mounted connector.

Close-up of 3D printed mounted connector. Image Credit: Boston Micro Fabrication (BMF)

A New Era of Innovation in Connector Manufacturing

BMF’s technology also allowed Z-Axis to shift to surface mount components, eliminating the need for through-hole accommodations. This improved the efficiency of electronic assemblies and allowed for streamlined designs, saving critical board space while fulfilling the needs of modern electronics.

By utilizing BMF’s micro 3D printing technology, Z-Axis pushed the boundaries of what was possible, creating solutions that exceeded industry standards.

BMF and Z-axis have laid the foundation for a new era of precision and creativity in connector manufacturing in considerably less time and at a much lower cost than conventional manufacturing methods.

Acknowledgments

Produced from materials originally authored by Laura Galloway from BMF.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Boston Micro Fabrication (BMF).

For more information on this source, please visit Boston Micro Fabrication (BMF).

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