University of Nottingham

University of Nottingham (5)

Researchers at the University of Nottingham have pioneered a breakthrough method to rapidly 3D print fully functional electronic circuits.

The circuits, which contain electrically-conductive metallic inks and insulating polymeric inks, can now be produced in a single inkjet printing process where a UV light rapidly solidifies the inks.

The breakthrough technique paves the way for the electronics manufacturing industry to produce fully functional components such as 3D antennae and fully printed sensors from multiple materials including metals and plastics.

The new method combines 2D printed electronics with Additive Manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing - which is based on layer-by-layer deposition of materials to create 3D products. This expands the impact of Multifunctional Additive Manufacturing (MFAM), which involves printing multiple materials in a single additive manufacturing system to create components that have broader functionalities.

The new method overcomes some of the challenges in manufacturing fully functional devices that contain plastic and metal components in complex structures, where different methods are required to solidify each material.

Existing systems typically use just one material which limits the functionality of the printed structures. Having two materials like a conductor and an insulator, expands the range of functions in electronics. For example, a wristband which includes a pressure sensor and wireless communication circuitry could be 3D printed and customised for the wearer in a single process.

The breakthrough speeds up the solidification process of the conductive inks to less than a minute per layer. Previously, this process took much longer to be completed using conventional heat sources such as ovens and hot plates, making it impractical when hundreds of layers are needed to form an object. In addition, the production of electronic circuits and devices is limited by current manufacturing methods that restrict both the form and potentially the performance of these systems.

Professor Chris Tuck, Professor of Materials Engineering and lead investigator of the study, highlighted the potential of the breakthrough, ‘Being able to 3D print conductive and dielectric materials (electrical insulators) in a single structure with the high precision that inkjet printing offers, will enable the fabrication of fully customised electronic components. You don’t have to select standard values for capacitors when you design a circuit, you just set the value and the printer will produce the component for you.’

Professor Richard Hague, Director of the Centre for Additive Manufacturing (CfAM) added, ’Printing fully functional devices that contain multiple materials in complex, 3D structures is now a reality. This breakthrough has significant potential to be the enabling manufacturing technique for 21st century products and devices that will have the potential to create a significant impact on both the industry and the public.’

Dr Ehab Saleh and members of the team from CfAM found that silver nanoparticles in conductive inks are capable of absorbing UV light efficiently. The absorbed UV energy is converted into heat, which evaporates the solvents of the conductive ink and fuses the silver nanoparticles. This process affects only the conductive ink and thus, does not damage any adjacent printed polymers. The researchers used the same compact, low cost LED-based UV light to convert polymeric inks into solids in the same printing process to form multi-material 3D structures.

With advancements in technology, inkjet printing can deposit of a wide range of functional inks with a spectrum of properties. It is used in biology, tissue bioprinting, multienzyme inkjet printing and various types of cell printing, where the ‘ink’ can comprise of living cells.

The breakthrough has established an underpinning technology which has potential for growth in academia and industry. The project has led to several collaborations to develop medical devices, radio frequency shielding surfaces and novel structures for harvesting solar energy.

This year marks the 12th annual International Conference on Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing and its 19-strong speaker roster will not disappoint. Speakers from academia, research and industry will share their views, expertise, developments and case studies over the two-day main conference sessions running from July 12th-13th at the Nottingham Belfry.

Topics range from creating an AM-capable workforce in the UK and the Gartner hype cycle to nano-particle jetting technology, mass-produced customised hearing aids, AM innovations in semiconductors and aerospace and design-led manufacturing to the ever-expanding AM applications in metals - for everything from Chris Froome’s Tour de France winning handlebars to parts of the International Space Station.

“Our conference prides itself on including a mix of speakers from research and industry roles to illustrate not only the current applications of AM technology, but to provide a platform for experts to share inroads they are making to improve the technology and expand its future uses for everyday life,” said conference chair, Prof. Richard Hague.

“We are very excited about this year’s speakers that hail from renowned research institutions, start-ups and emerging companies to established industry players and well-known brands. As always, we steer clear of the hype around 3DP and focus on the realities at every phase of technology development,” Hague continued.

It is this commitment that has resulted in the first-ever ‘Industrial Realities’ pre-conference event, which will be held on July 11th with Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network, kicking off the main conference and exhibition.

The main conference speaker roster includes:

  • Brent Stucker, 3DSIM
  • Jonathan Meyer, Airbus
  • Sarat Babu, Betatype
  • Alex Fickerl, BMW
  • Anthony Rollett, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Johannes Gumpinger, European Space Agency
  • Pete Basiliere, Gartner
  • Samantha O'Callaghan, Johnson Matthey
  • Bastian Rapp, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • Maxim Shusteff, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Marek Korda, Leonardo MW Ltd
  • Dimitris Katsanis, METRON Advanced Equipment Ltd
  • Patrizia Richner, Sonova Hearing Care
  • Daniel Revier, Texas Instruments
  • Tim Minshall, University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing
  • Clive Roberts, University of Nottingham
  • Neil Hopkinson, Xaar
  • Dror Danai, Xjet


Now in its 12th year, The International Conference on Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing is a forum for AM & 3DP experts to share their knowledge and ideas. The aim of the event has always been to cut through the hype and share the successes and the failures of additive technologies. The conference brings together more than 250 AM & 3DP academics and industry professionals, providing the opportunity for both new and experienced users of the technology to learn about and keep in touch with the latest developments in AM, helping to drive commercial success and discover new avenues of research.

Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network and their Special Interest Group in Additive Manufacturing will help kick off this year’s 12th annual International Conference on Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing with a full day event designed to help businesses cut through the hype and grasp the opportunities Additive Manufacturing can offer.

‘The Industrial Realities of Additive Manufacturing’ is a pre-conference session taking place on 11th July and will feature a line of expert speakers and AM practitioners including:

  • Sophie Jones from Added Scientific
  • Phil Reeves of Stratasys Expert Services
  • Frank Cooper from Birmingham City University
  • David Brackett from The Manufacturing Technology Centre


The speakers will discuss the challenges they’ve faced and lessons learned using AM technologies, covering a range of issues such as quality assurance, facility development, training and funding.

“Our conference has always been about delving into the realities of what AM technology can – and, importantly cannot – do. The pre-conference traditionally sets the scene for the main event with a series of in-depth discussions relevant to the industry and this year is no different,” said conference chair, Richard Hague.

“Collaborating with Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network provides us with a brilliant opportunity to address the ‘dirty secrets’ of AM, clearing up misconceptions around the technology and giving us the opportunity to discuss the benefits AM can bring to industry and government with a wider audience. It will set the scene perfectly for this year’s conference.”

The day will also include an afternoon session dedicated to the UK's National Strategy for Additive Manufacturing. This will provide insights into the work being done to support UK industry and details of opportunities available to UK companies.

“We are committed to helping businesses get the most out of creativity, ideas and the latest discoveries, and addressing the realities and pitfalls of technologies is an important piece of this process,” said Louise Jones, Knowledge Transfer Manager - Additive Manufacturing at the Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network.

“We were drawn to the conference’s honest approach to additive technologies as well as its wide range of expert speakers representing innovators in industry, academia and business. This event fits perfectly with our aims as an organization – to embrace ideas and technologies to strengthen the UK economy and improve people’s lives.”

The ‘Industrial Realities of Manufacturing’ event takes place on 11th July, followed by the full 2-day International Conference for Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing on 12-13th July. Both will be held at the Nottingham Belfry Hotel alongside an exhibition with stands from a number of organizations demonstrating their technology, analysis, expertise and products that are helping drive development in AM and wider manufacturing industries.

The 11th International Conference on Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing is all about AM academic and industry experts getting together to share their knowledge and ideas. A setting is provided for both new and experienced users of AM to keep in touch and stay up to date with the latest developments in AM and to enhance commercial success and explore new avenues of research.

Listen to both sides of the story: the successes and challenges of leading technology adopters giving a balanced view of the industry, cutting right through the hype. Find out about current state-of-the-art research and leading industry applications as each carefully selected speaker addresses different issues facing the evolving AM world.

Preceding the main conference on Tuesday July 12th will be the UK AM Research and Innovation day. Throughout this day, highlights of the best of UK Additive Manufacturing Research and Innovation taking place at UK Universities and Innovation Centres will be presented.

UK based research groups with significant AM activity will give technical overview presentations detailing their current and future research work with the intention of showcasing both the breadth and depth of the work that is currently going on in the UK.

The parallel exhibition, to which our conference delegates will have exclusive access, features a select number of organizations whose technology, analysis, expertise and products continue to help drive development in Additive Manufacturing, 3D printing and wider manufacturing industries. It will be open from 12:30 on July 12th until the end of the event.

The event is organized on behalf of the world renowned Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing Research Group (3DPRG), based at the University of Nottingham, in partnership with Added Scientific Ltd, which provides technical services and training in the areas of materials, process and design to enable business identify and realise the benefits of 3D Printing.

The conference was started in 2006 by Professor Richard Hague, now head of the Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Research Group (3DPRG) at Nottingham University. Since 2006 the conference has grown from less than 90 delegates to over 250 delegates, coming from 18 countries. The conference has an excellent reputation, with over 50% of all delegates being repeat visitors. The event attracts delegates from the aerospace, automotive, consumer goods, fashion, retail, materials and defense sectors along with academics involved in materials, lasers, software development and design.

For more information or to register, visit: www.am-conference.com

The organizers of the 10th International Conference on Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing, taking place on July 7-9, 2015, in Nottingham, UK, have now opened online registrations for the event.

Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing are becoming a mainstream topic in the popular press, with great examples of medical implants, aerospace components, toys and consumer goods being reported widely by media channels including the BBC, the Economist and the New Scientist. The International Conference on Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing has firmly established itself as the one of the world’s leading conferences and networking opportunities dedicated to this exciting manufacturing technology, with outstanding speakers, technology users and vendors all coming together under one roof in July each year.

Hosted by the ‘Internationally leading’ Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Research Group (3DPRG) at Nottingham University, the conference attracts over 300 delegates from around the world representing some of the world’s most innovative companies and brands, who assemble for 3-days of knowledge transfer and networking.

The conference is aimed at industrialists, entrepreneurs, academics and researchers with an interest in AM & 3DP technologies, materials, software and business applications. An AM/3DP technology exhibition will run in parallel to the conference, providing a valuable networking opportunity for vendors. The event will also include one full day of presentations focusing on scientific advances in AM on July 7th. This day brings together cutting edge research activity from across UK universities with presentations outlining projects focused on early stage research underpinning the science behind Additive Manufacturing. All projects are funded by the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Additive Manufacturing.

Speakers Include:

  • Burghardt Klöden - IFAM - Germany
  • Chris Tuck - University of Nottingham - UK
  • Daan Kersten - Additive Industries bv - The Netherlands
  • Horst Exner - University of Applied Sciences - Germany
  • James Gardiner - Laing O'Rourke - AUSTRALIA
  • Jim Zunino - US Army Research Lab - USA
  • Johannes Glasschröder - iwb Anwenderzentrum Augsburg - GERMANY
  • Marcel Slot - Océ-Technologies BV - The Netherlands
  • Richard Leach - University of Nottingham - UK
  • Salomé Galjaard - Arup - The Netherlands
  • Sharona Cohen - Orbotech Ltd - ISRAEL
  • Wayne King - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory - USA
  • Willemijn Elkhuizen - Delft Uni of Technology - The Netherlands


July 7th Presentations Include:

  • Alicia Kim - University of Bath
  • Andrew Moore - Heriot-Watt University
  • Ezra Feilden-Irving - Imperial College London
  • Graham Martin - University of Cambridge
  • James Dowden - University of Nottingham
  • James Sprittles - The University of Warwick
  • Kate Black - University of Liverpool
  • Matthew Benning - Newcastle University
  • Peter Birkin - University of Southampton
  • Wayne Hayes - University of Reading


The conference was started in 2006 by Professor Richard Hague, now head of the Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Research Group (3DPRG) at Nottingham University. Since 2006 the conference has grown from less than 90 delegates to over 300 delegates in 2014, coming from 18 countries. The conference has an excellent reputation, with over 50% of all delegates being repeat visitors. The conference attracts delegates from the aerospace, automotive, consumer goods, fashion, retail, materials and defense sectors along with academics involved in materials, lasers, software development and design.

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