Z-AXIS Expands PCB Assembly Services with Advanced 3D Printing


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Z-AXIS, Inc. has expanded its 3D printing capabilities at its electronic product design and contract manufacturing center near Rochester, New York. The company uses its new Formlabs 3D printer to create mold inserts for injection molding and over-molding, prototype enclosures for electronic assemblies, and a variety of fixtures for use in its electronics manufacturing services operations.

The Formlabs Form 2 Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer uses a laser to cure solid isotropic parts from a liquid photopolymer resin. It can produce parts with a resolution as fine as 25 microns (0.001 inch), with high material strength, and with the ability to withstand high temperatures.

These features allow Z-AXIS to 3D-print custom mold inserts for use with a universal mold for injection molding. Injection molding is used in electronics contract manufacturing to encase printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) and cable assemblies in a protective polymer.  By designing and printing mold inserts in-house, Z-AXIS can eliminate the approximately $10,000 up-front cost of a machined aluminum mold for its customers. This reduces their product costs and makes injection molding feasible for lower-volume products.

Z-AXIS also uses 3D printing to create prototypes such as PCBA enclosures. Z-AXIS engineers design circuit boards and custom enclosures for clients. Creating prototypes in-house, they can quickly turn around any iterations as needed before ordering the final enclosure and releasing the PCBA to manufacturing.  This reduces prototype costs and can cut weeks from the design and prototype cycle.

Finally, the company designs and 3D-prints a wide variety of jigs and fixtures for its own use in its electronics contract manufacturing service operations. Custom fixtures for each contract manufacturing project help to ensure high productivity and process repeatability, leading to lower product cost and consistent high quality for the customer. The ability to produce these fixtures in-house allows rapid response to each customer’s needs.

About Z-AXIS, Inc.

Z-AXIS Inc. provides quality electronic product design, prototyping and electronics contract manufacturing services for complex printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) products. The company offers fast design turnaround, competitive NRE charges, rapid production and low freight costs from its 32,000 square foot, ISO9001:2015 certified design and manufacturing center near Rochester, NY.  Z-AXIS also designs, manufactures and sells commercial, medical and industrial power supplies under its Bear Power Supplies brand.

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