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At the SMTA Additive Electronics TechXchange, Dr. Kourtney Wright spoke about Lockheed’s DoD work and explained why Lockheed is interested in additive. She has a background in chemistry and is now working in electronics chemistries.
Early in her presentation, Wright used the phrase “from the art to the part, quickly”—a euphemism that captured why Lockheed has an interest in additive. She outlined Lockheed’s objectives as follows:
- Small quantity manufacturing
- Unique designs
- 3D/conformal geometries
- Agile design and development, including rapid prototyping and single-part manufacturing
- Iterative design
- Finely tuned electronics
- Lower program cost, lower deployment cost, and quicker diagnosis of problems
Wright finished her presentation with an overview of the copper inks Lockheed is developing, evaluating, and using. She pointed out that to make the paste for printing, copper nanoparticles are passivated into the paste. Of particular interest was the fact that the copper paste, she noted, is solderable (unlike silver).
As she wrapped up her presentation, Wright shared one example application for additive and flex. Flex circuits can be used to replace a traditional wire harness, simplifying replacement to repair a failure—a plug-in replacement versus troubleshooting the location of a failed individual wire.