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Smart production of Microsystems based on laminated polymer films

The SMARTLAM 3D-Integration approach (3D-I) combines new material properties with state of the art, scalable 3D technologies such as aerosol jet printing or different laser based processes for combined micro milling, microstructuring and surface functionalisation, micro welding and micro cutting. 




Grant agreement No.:


Thematic priority:

FP7 FOF.NMP.2012-5


High precision production technologies for high quality 3D microparts

Start date of the project:



36 months


Dr. Steffen G. Scholz / Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)


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Project Summary:

Today´s fabrication methods for micro devices can require expensive tooling and long turn around times, making empirical, performance-based modifications to the design expensive and time consuming. These methods also are limited in their flexibility, so that complex, devices that incorporate on-board valves, separation media, membranes, and recirculating pumps, cannot be developed and adapted without considerable expense in molds and assembly fixtures

This creates a barrier to the development of medium to large series of complex and higher functionality devices where the cost to benefit ratio of incorporating functionality is too risky for the typical laboratory, diagnostic or medical device developer.

To bridge the gap between a high volume production building on specialized equipment and an -until today- inefficient production of medium series, especially SMEs need to find other, more flexible and scalable approaches to produce parts in high volumes. Here technological as well as business model related challenges need to be addressed.

SMARTLAM aims at filling this gap by proposing a solution, that builds on a modular, flexible, scalable 3D-Integration scenario (3-DI), where novel material properties, available in polymer films, will be combined with state of the art scalable 3D compatible technologies, such as aerosol jet for printing of electrical circuits and sensors, laser technologies for structuring and welding as well as a handling system allowing for the 3D positioning of the tools. These partial modules shall be integrated in one machine to facilitate and significantly accelerate the development and scale up of complete 3D Microsystems from feasibility studies up to medium size production without disruptive change. A SMARTLAM 3D-Integration modelling environment will support users of the SMARTLAM environment along the modelling and design of the 3-DI hardware compatible microsystems.


SMARTLAM Flyer Smartlam Poster

Besides tackling the technological challenges, an important contribution by the efforts of SMARTLAM is the demonstration of a complete business case scenario. The integrating production equipment shall be placed at an OEM SME production service provider, being able to run 5-10 production lots, each with mid volume series between 500 up to 250.000 per year and in total leading to a large volume production. To demonstrate the potential of the new approach, two demonstrators out of the energy and health care sector will take over the role of a potential customer to provide input to requirements side of the 3D-I approach regarding technological requirements, flexibility and adaptiveness of SMARTLAM. The demonstrators will also be in charge for benchmarking of the results concerning scalability, product performance, lot sizes, process reliability, and cost efficiency against the established processes from an industrial viewpoint.

As the current state clearly shows, these major open issues require additional research work. Hence, the novel SMARTLAM 3D-I approach presents itself as an ideal candidate not only to overcome current bottlenecks, but also to strengthen the competitiveness of the European economical area as a whole, while also ensuring the forefront position of European's scientific community at the advancement of research within the field of fabrication of microsystems.