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3-D printed metal antennas are no longer science fiction

* 3D-print-tech.jpgThe combination of so-called additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, electromagnetic simulation and mechanical design software is enabling innovative antenna and radio-frequency components. Engineers are harnessing these tools to design, fabricate, test and manufacture lightweight, highly complex antennas and radio-frequency products.

The products are an order of magnitude smaller and lighter than what is on the market today, says an official at antenna design company Optisys LLC, West Jordan, Utah. This was not even possible five years ago, reports Michael Hollenbeck, chief technology officer and a co-founder of Optisys.

The resulting products are catching customers in almost disbelief. "We see this response when we drop one of our antennas in someone's hands, and they are anticipating a heavy block of metal," he says. "And then it's so light, they cannot believe it." Hollenbeck has to explain that it is in fact a full-density aluminum part. "The products are sparking the imagination of a lot of people," he shares. "We've had really excellent reception."

5th March 2018

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