Ultrasonic additive manufacturing using feedstock with build-in circuitry for 3D metal embedded electronics

Embedded electronics and sensors are becoming increasingly important for the development of Industry 4.0. For small components, space constraints lead to full 3D integration requirements that are only achievable through Additive Manufacturing. Manufacturing metal components usually require high temperatures incompatible with electronics but Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing (UAM) can produce components with mechanical properties close to bulk, but with the integration of internal embedded electronics, sensors or optics. This paper describes a novel manufacturing route for embedding electronics with 3D via connectors in an aluminium matrix. Metal foils with printed conductors and insulators were prepared separately from the UAM process thereby separating the electronics preparation from the part consolidation. A dual material polymer layer exhibited the best electrically insulating properties, while providing mechanical protection of printed conductive tracks stable up to 100°C. General design and UAM process recommendations are given for 3D embedded electronics in a metal matrix.