In addition to prototyping in industry, additive manufacturing can facilitate the creation of complex semiconductors. This is the Hummink concept. The start-up, which announced this Wednesday, November 9, 2022 to raise 5 million euros, wishes “to contribute with its know-how on metal deposition and ink formulation” to the electronics sector as described by its co-founder and COO Pascal Boncenne.
The impression is based on the capillarity
The start-up was founded in 2020 by Pascal Boncenne and Amin M’Barki. He has developed a technology that can be described as “the smallest fountain pen in the world”, according to Pascal Boncenne. The 3D printer allows you to draw models with metallic materials in the field of electronics. Technology from a physics laboratory of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris.
To make the deposit, the machine relies on the phenomenon of capillarity. “A drop hangs on the end of a small glass capillaryexplains Pascal Boncenne. When it comes into contact with an object, the drop is deposited by capillarity. In contrast, additive manufacturing systems based on injection or spray technologies require a lot of power to extrude a small drop, which is not a problem with the capillary technique.
The machine allows it “deposit a certain amount of materials in one place”, adds the co-founder. As a result, Hummink promises cost savings through reduced energy consumption and material usage, as well as an increase in production speed. Concretely, Hummink comes to compete with the lithography technique for the manufacture of semiconductors.
Hummink claims to have developed the smallest fountain pen in the world.
But the start-up isn’t meant to eradicate all lithography. It is aimed at the most complex components with high added value. For example, CNES used this technology for on-board electronics in flight equipment. This niche market is just one example. Hummink is more generally targeting three-dimensional integrated circuits (3D packaging) and “redistribution layer” technology (adding an additional metallic layer) which are mass-marketed.
Nazca, the first printer
Deep tech raised an initial fundraiser of € 700,000 in 2020 to identify the most promising markets, forge partnerships and establish the first commercial product. Goals achieved since he made this second fundraiser, with Sensinnovat, Elaia Partners, PSL, Beeyond and Bpifrance. The start-up has thus developed its own “first machine that aims to democratize technology” 3D printing, as Pascal Bonenne explains. Called Nazca, it is primarily intended for research laboratories.
The tool is part of a race for the smallest and most complex electronic components possible. This 3D printer is a boon for industrial and academic gamers who may struggle with assembling and interconnecting components. Hummink explains the power “trace the interconnections between electronic chips with a simple and more accessible method than existing standards”sums up Pascal Boncenne.
Hummink aims for mass production
“The pitfall of additive manufacturing must be limited to prototyping”, the co-founder blows. A trap that the young sprout obviously wants to avoid by highlighting the advantages of his printer for mass production. This fundraiser aims to commercially distribute its first product. Hummink claims to have designed a machine that meets 90% of the needs of the electronics and semiconductor market, as it is versatile enough to tackle different use cases by simply changing the pipette. This pipette is the main variable as it corresponds to the size of the tip and determines the width of the line that can be reached (between 100 nanometers and 50 microns). The young sprout also formulated and developed inks suited to his needs.
As for industrialization, he explains that he wants to market his solution in the form of licenses, in particular to equipment manufacturers, who will be able to add this production module in factories. He assures us that a large Japanese industrialist is very interested in his machine and that the first collaborations with industrialists should be announced soon. The cost of this printer? Several hundred thousand euros. Hummink wants to sell a dozen cars a year.
As it seeks to quickly commercialize its solution, Nugget continues its research and development efforts. For example, work on an array of pens. The goal here is to “demonstrate that such use is feasible, proclaims the co-founder, to increase production speed or to make deposits with different materials at the same time. “ Meanwhile, its first printer will be installed at the University of Paris Cité, which is part of the French association for printed electronics.
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