Ceramic 3D Printing for Semiconductor Thermal Management Systems is being developed by Coherent Corp.

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Coherent Corporation, a leading laser manufacturer in Saxonburg, PA, recently announced a significant breakthrough in ceramic additive manufacturing (AM). This new process is equivalent to the company’s existing injection molding process and has tremendous potential in both the next-generation semiconductor equipment market and chip packaging.

Originally based in Santa Clara, CA, Coherent was acquired by optics corporation II-VI in 2022 and now operates under the Coherent name. Prior to this acquisition, Coherent had purchased German company OR Laser, which gave it ownership of the Coherent Creator metal powder bed fusion (PBF) printer, a now out-of-production printer.

Though it’s unclear whether the Creator was involved in the development of the new ceramic materials, it’s interesting to speculate if Coherent saw materials development as a more profitable long-term use of its platform compared to being a 3D printing OEM.

Coherent’s extensive background, coupled with its large-scale operations, positions the company to gain a significant advantage in the relatively small ceramic AM market. The successful development of its ceramic AM process is a major milestone, with Steve Rummel, the Senior VP of the Engineered Materials and Laser Optics Business Unit at Coherent, stating that the new process enables lighter components with entirely new geometries, which are critical for next-generation semiconductor equipment designs.

The introduction of AM in the semiconductor industry is a game-changer. The scale of the semiconductor sector far surpasses that of the AM sector, making it a pivotal development. Not only can AM be leveraged for packaging purposes, but it also has the potential to revolutionize the making and repairing of high-value machines and hardware used in semiconductor production.

What’s even more intriguing is the strategic roadmap that Coherent has developed with its customers for its AM activities. Considering its customer base primarily consists of semiconductor companies, this suggests that AM is a fundamental part of the next era of the US chips supply chain.

The possibilities are endless, and Coherent is already exploring the expansion of its AM capabilities beyond ceramics to include a wider range of materials, including metals. This forward-thinking approach will undoubtedly solidify their position as a frontrunner in the additive manufacturing industry.

As Coherent moves quickly to establish a new ceramic AM line in Temecula, CA, the company is setting itself up for continued success and innovation. Exciting times lie ahead, and the impact of Coherent’s ceramic AM breakthrough will undoubtedly shape the future of the semiconductor market.

To stay informed about the latest news in the 3D printing industry and receive information and offers from third-party vendors, make sure to keep up-to-date with Coherent’s developments.

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