Development of high-frequency communications devices using advanced additive manufacturing and coating technologies – CAFTAM







Current radio communication systems are dealing with the progressive saturation of the electromagnetic spectrum which, together with increasing bandwidth requirements (transmission speeds), is forcing systems to migrate to higher frequency bands.

Despite the existence of numerous technologies for the manufacture of communications devices, their commercial success requires high-cost efficiency and mass production as well as adequate electromagnetic performance.

But what is the most appropriate technology to manufacture these devices with the required efficiency and performance?

Additive manufacturing technologies offer a very wide range of volumetric topologies, as well as reduced manufacturing time, weight, and cost compared to traditional metal milling processes. To make the device electrically conductive, it must be coated with metal, requiring efficient techniques to do so.

  • For this reason, a wide range of structures is first designed to provide comprehensive solutions for the industry.
  • Afterwards, the use of new materials and manufacturing technologies is analysed to adapt them to the needs of the industry.
  • Finally, new metal coating and finishing processes are developed to facilitate the required conductivity of these radio frequency communications devices for terrestrial, maritime, and space applications.

It is estimated that the use of additive manufacturing technologies for these applications will produce devices up to 10 times lighter, drastically reduce waste compared to machining metal parts, and allow the manufacture of workpieces that are impossible to make with traditional techniques.

The CAFTAM project is a collaborative initiative for experimental development, led by the Institute of Telecommunications and Multimedia Applications (ITEAM) from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), which will contribute its experience in the design and optimisation of high frequency communications circuits (filters, antennas, splitters, etc.). AIJU will develop the selected devices implementing high surface and dimensional quality via various additive manufacturing technologies. The Institute of Chemical Technology (created by the Spanish National Research Council, CSIC) will carry out innovative mixed chemical and galvanic catalytic metallisation processes on the developed pieces. In addition, the company DISMUNTEL experienced and knowledgeable in the field of RFID and control electronics, will contribute to proposing the challenge on behalf of the industry in the field of telecommunications and in testing the correct functioning of the developed devices in the real world.

This collaboration is part of a research project funded by the Valencian innovation agency within the Strategic Projects in Cooperation Programme.

Referee: INNEST/2022/138
Start: 01-05-2022
Finish: 30-09-2024

Name: Asunción Martínez
Phone: 34 96 555 44 75




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