There are a lot of factors that can damage electronic products, as anyone who has ever used anything electronic knows. It is not recommended to drop a mobile phone into water, for example, nor is it considered prudent to let it sit for a few hours in direct sunlight on a 90-degree day. Laptop computers should not be dropped, and one would be wise to avoid stepping on any type of electronic product at any time (unless it’s specifically designed to be stood on, of course).
Even without human intervention, however, electronics can be subject to damage from the dreaded process of corrosion. The degradation of metal components is inevitable without proper safeguards, and Illinois-basedEngineered Materials, Inc. (EMI) has made it their mission to provide those safeguards and keep vital electronics and other metal components in industries such as aerospace and energy protected from damaging influences particularly during the shipping process.
EMI’s claim to fame is Intercept Technology, licensed from original developer Alcatel Lucent Bell Labs. The technology was actually created originally to repair corrosion on the Statue of Liberty and then further modified to provide protection for packaged goods. A reactive polymer barrier neutralizes corrosive gases before they reach the material inside the packaging, allowing safe transport through any conditions by land, air or sea.
Now Intercept Technology has gotten an extra boost in the form of a new 3D printable ribbon. While other anti-corrosion technologies utilize volatiles and oils, Intercept is a solid, volatile-free, copper-based polymer that remains stable at high temperatures, meaning that EMI was able to keep the material stable at the temperatures required to create the 3D spools, as well as stable at 3D printing temperature.
The new development means that complex parts and shapes can be 3D printed to protect onboard electronics, as well as other components that require strong corrosion and/or ESD (electrostatic discharge) protection. The non-volatile nature of the technology allows it to be used in high-end, clean applications; right now, spools are available for corrosion protection in a PLA base or corrosion plus permanent ESD protection in an ABS polymer base.
“The development is another extension of the versatility of the Intercept Technology in industrial and consumer markets by Engineered Materials, Inc. (EMI), an Illinois based corporation with offices and technicians around the world. The development allows for printing of complex parts and shapes for on board electronics, aviation, aerospace and other applications that require corrosion and/or ESD protection for key components. The non-volatile nature of our anti-corrosion 3D print allows this to be put into high end, extremely clean applications,” explained EMI’s Albert Greenhut.
The new 3D printable technology was developed at the request of the aerospace and consumer electronics industries, both of which required better long-term, stable, non-volatile, clean corrosion protection for their products. Intercept Technology is also available in the form of injection molded and thermoformed parts and trays, but the new 3D printable ribbons offer a variation that’s cleaner, easier to manage and easier to produce.
Intercept Technology products are available globally, with production in both the United States and Europe. EMI is the leading product development, R&D and technology arm of the Intercept Technology group, and releases one new Intercept product per year on average.