Significant steps towards enabling 3D printing for electronics

Hyb-Man aims to develop reliable and scalable 3D-printed electronics that are first-time right, save costs and reduce waste

What will it take for today’s leading electronics manufacturers to transform and extend their reach in an ever-changing, highly competitive market? Experts say future electronics will be more personalised, customised and eco-friendly. Additive Manufacturing – also known as 3D printing – has already proven to enhance regular manufacturing processes. And now, we’ve taken significant steps towards enabling 3D printing for electronics.

Hyb-Man is a European consortium that has developed and implemented methods to apply 3D printing to electronic products. Our consortium – made up of partners from every link in the value chain – aims for complete, first-time-right processes that reduce waste and enable personalisation. The result? A significant step towards the design and manufacturing of customised electronics.

Current state of play

Today, electronics manufacturers rely on standardised, series-manufactured housing assemblies and printed circuit boards (PCBs).  These manufacturing methods are not adaptable to ever-shortening product lifecycles, and are too expensive for customised, small-series products.  Introducing Additive Manufacturing for electronics can bring new flexibility and enable production at competitive costs.

The partners at Hyb-Man are dedicated to providing the necessary solutions. We have shown that it is possible to use 3D printing for entire products, including the required components and circuitry, for use in a variety of product applications.

Our consortium has designed various processes for printing electric and structural materials, and now has applications in demonstration. Our modular processes can be adapted for the specific needs and requirements of a wide range of electronic products.

The complete picture

In Hyb-Man, we utilised the expertise of a wider range of partners, like TNO at Holst Centre, Neotech, Bosch and Signify. The group strategically joined together to address the challenges of electronics 3D printing along its entire value chain. Our aim is to accelerate innovation and investment together, with the support of the European community.

Together, we drive the advancement of every step in the value chain, from design to final quality and testing. Our team of engineers focused on design, simulation, toolings, process development, software, automation and more. We are committed to supporting electronics manufacturers from the conception of a product to its realisation, and will provide knowledge and expertise that aims for a first-time-right electronics Additive Manufacturing process.

Potential and promise

In just three years, the consortium delivered impressive results. It has implemented two different manufacturing processes that are capable of producing functional electronic products that were completely 3D printed. Advances were made in design rules, simulation software, in-line testing and quality control that were necessary to deliver two fully functional products in the fields of automotive components and smart lighting.

The consortium partners are now ready to engage with industrial partners to extend our research and development even further. Our goal is to support the market introduction of products that fulfil customer needs, in a way that also supports manufacturers’ cost and sustainability goals. We will work together on new materials and processes, and further optimisation of the systems, to reach industrial reliability and reduced cost of ownership.

Forward for the future

In order to welcome our new partners, Hyb-Man aims to evolve into a new consortium, which will be equipped with further funding and an extended team of both technical and industrial experts. With this team, we will be able to move forward to the next stage of design, testing and improvement.

The evolved project will be another significant, deliberate step towards the future of electronics 3D printing, with new design methodologies, materials and industrial end-users.

Interested in learning more about electronics 3D printing and the newest consortium? Contact us today. We will be happy to show you our demonstrators and our systems, or introduce you to our experts and partner network.

Lotte Willems
Business Developer Hybrid Printed Electronics
Holst Centre – TNO | +31 6 2921 3407

Rob van Asselt
Project Coordinator, Hyb-Man
Signify | +31 6 12960185

Hyb-Man at the 3D Printing Electronics Conference 2020

On January 28 the 7th edition of the annual 3D Printing Electronics Conference took place at the High Tech Campus Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

An international group of speakers presented their  latest breakthroughs, cutting edge research and business opportunities. Amongst them three Hyb-Man partners presented their proceedings and future visions: Neotech AMT, VSL and Holst Centre.

Neotech: state-of-the-art production of 3D mechatronic systems

Martin Hedges (Neotech AMT, Germany) presented the state-of-the-art related to the production of 3D mechatronic systems via Additive Manufacturing (AM) processes and the scalability to high volume manufacture. He showed how a reconfigurable array of structural and electronics printing, pre- and post-processing techniques were combined with SMD technologies to enable digitally driven 3D electronics manufacturing. And also how the resultant flexible process chains could be easily reconfigured to cope with rapid changes in product type whilst retaining the ability to be scaled through to high volume manufacture. Selection of the most appropriate print, pre- and post-processing methods with the subsequent effect on process speed and cost were discussed, as well as a review of current applications spanning 3D electronic circuits, antenna, sensor and heater patterns. Finally an update on the progression to First Time Right manufacture of complex devices was given.

VSL: Metrology for quality management of printed conductors

Richard Koops (VSL, Dutch Metrology Institute ,the Netherlands) presented “Metrology for quality management of printed conductors”, in which he depicted how in-line and in-process metrology is required to measure critical to quality process and product parameters, enabling first time right manufacturing of relatively small production volumes. Within the Hyb-Man project, technologies are being developed for embedded electronics and printed interconnects. Since the functionality of the interconnects determines whether the final product will be accepted or has to be rejected, metrology has been developed to inspect the quality of conducting printed tracks. A newly developed non-contact measurement method was presented, which enables in-line and even in-process inspection of interconnects and vias.

Three Hyb-Man partners Neotech, VSL and Holst Centre showed their proceedings and future visions

Holst Centre: developing technologies to enable production of printed electronics

Hessel Maalderink presented proceedings regarding 3D printed electronics at Holst Centre (the Netherlands). Following the growing demand for printed (PCB-less!) electronic devices, and triggered by multiple drivers on the demand side -smaller, lighter weight, flexible, robust, smart, more sensitive (sensors), more active (actuators), connected, personalized, Holst Centre was involved in various research programs targeted at developing technologies to enable production of such printed electronics. This was done either by stacking functional layers in sheet-to-sheet or roll-to-roll processes, or by novel freeform processes based on Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) technology. Highlights and remaining challenges were presented about various technologies like LIFT, face-up component integration and via-printing. Results and samples from the Hyb-Man project were shared with the audience.

Furthermore, under the moderation of Jakajima’s Pieter Hermans, very interesting presentations were given by: Youngstown State University (USA) Würth Elektronik eiSos (Germany,) Hasselt University (Belgium),University of Hamburg (Germany,) Origin (USA), PROFACTOR GmbH (Austria) KEX Knowledge Exchange AG (Germany), Metafas (the Netherlands), LifeSense (the Netherlands), ATA-GEAR (the Netherlands), and DoMicro (the Netherlands).

Overall it was a very interesting day at the yearly 3D printing electronics conference in Eindhoven, where people from an internationally oriented public could meet, learn and discuss about these new technologies.

HYB-Man at the Sim-AM 2019 Conference

On September 11th – 13th 2019 the bi-annual conference on Simulation for Additive Manufacturing (SIM-AM) was held on the historic university of Pavia in Italy.

The conference is an international gathering of researchers discussing the latest advances on simulations for the entire spectrum of Additive Manufacturing Techniques. Topics range from micro-structure modeling of metal printed products, to topology and shape optimization technique, from powder bed fusion process simulation to new trends in 4D printing and everything in between.

Novel AM process simulation framework

PhD candidate Jeroen Knippenberg presented the innovative work done by the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) on the development of a novel AM process simulation framework. In this framework the continuous material addition is simulated with a state of the art element addition technique. This element addition is combined with a thermomechanical model to simulate the thermal material deposition. Jeroen showed how this framework can be used to calculate, internal stresses, deformations and temperature distribution during printing of a product with GCode as simulation input. In conclusion, the use of this simulation framework in the Hybrid AM context was discussed.     

Wide range of international presenters

Furthermore, other interesting contributions were given by researchers from Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands), McGill University (Canada), NIST Institute of Standards and technology (India), RWTH Aachen University (Germany) and Northwestern University (USA), among many others. Both academia and industry were well presented in this multi day international conference. 

Overall it was a very interesting conference in which state-of-the-art research and simulation work on many aspects of AM where presented and discussed lively. The international audience consisted of the leading experts in the field from all over the world. 

Hyb-Man to transform production of smart electronic systems using 3D manufacturing methods

Paris, 5 April 2018 – The EUREKA PENTA funding program, managed by AENEAS, today highlights the Hyb-Man project. The Hyb-Man (Hybrid 3D Manufacturing of Smart Systems) project is developing additive manufacturing methods (also known as 3D printing) to enable flexible, first-time-right production of smart systems for lighting and automotive applications. Read more…

First PhD student on Hyb-Man project

Meet our new PhD student Jeroen Knippenberg at AMSYSTEMS Center. During his mechanical engineering bachelor and master studies at the TU/e, he developed a passion for the engineering of high tech materials in challenging environments. This passion has enabled him to work for example on lightweight carbon fiber composite structures in racing cars and from 1 July 2017 in the challenging field of industrial additive manufacturing. Within this field Jeroen sees an opportunity to enhance his skills as an engineer and researcher while contributing to the advancement of the industrial applicability of additive manufacturing.

For the upcoming 4 years Jeroen will be focusing his fundamental research, which is part of the European Hyb-Man Project, on hybrid 3D manufacturing methods for multi-material products with integrated electronic components. The goal of the methods is to enable flexible first time right production of smart systems for lighting and automotive products. “Currently the combination of multiple materials and multiple functionalities into a single AM product significantly increases the complexity of the production process,” Jeroen explains. “To be able to manufacture such products first-time-right,” Jeroen continues, “a thorough understanding of the relation between process parameters on one hand and intrinsic material properties and functionalities on the other hand is required.” For example it is important to understand the relation between sintering temperature of a conductive track and the corresponding electrical resistance. The possible track sintering temperature can be limited because of the use of other materials less resistant to temperature in the hybrid product, while the track resistance specification still has to be met. The research of Jeroen is to get this understanding by providing design rules for the hybrid 3D manufacturing process, based on the obtained insight in the process.


Approach and challenges
His research starts with identifying individual input-output relations between process parameters and material properties. Then the relations will be studied by various numerical models and experimental material characterization. These models, each representing a small part of the production process, will be combined in a design structure matrix (DSM) and system optimization techniques will be used to identify the opportunities and constraints in the hybrid manufacturing process. Jeroen foresees a challenge in creating suitable numerical models for the additive manufacturing process, as the models are generally new for this industry. Another challenge is the effort of creating an overview in the large parameter space with these different relations. Two challenges that Jeroen is eager to take up.

Cost effectiveness and meeting rapid changing requirement
Jeroen hopes successfully to develop a 3D hybrid manufacturing process that allows local production of highly personalized electronic products without the need for product specific tooling and large stock of parts or products. “Advantages of such process is the cost effectiveness of the production of the small series and rapid changing in requirements from the market can be accounted,” Jeroen says.

Kick-off Hyb-Man Project

Together with 11 partners from Germany and the Netherlands we will develop and integrate technologies for additive manufacturing, 3D electrical structures, 3D assembly and interconnect. First time right production will be achieved by creating design rules based on understanding of product-process relationships and by developing in-line testing and quality monitoring as integral part of the complete production chain. In parallel we will develop two innovative product cases covering different applications and sectors (LED luminaires, automotive adaptive sensors) to demonstrate the hybrid 3D manufacturing approach.

Highly flexible
The resulting manufacturing process is highly flexible through the removal of product specific tooling, no large stock of parts or products, local production and form freedom in production. This results in substantial business benefits, such as: faster response to changes in the market, cost effective manufacturing of small series and customer centric solutions, and new product designs offering improved functionality and new form factors.

The project duration is 3 years, with a total effort of 56 person years from 10 partners: Philips Lighting, Bosch, Fraunhofer IFAM, Reden, VSL, Henkel, Technolution, Neotech, Xenon and AMSYSTEMS Center (joint center of TNO and TU/e High Tech Systems Center).

For more information, please contact Wijnand Germs ( or Joris Remmers (