CIT is hoping to put the ‘printed’ back into printed circuit boards.
CIT Technology is a manufacturer of digitally printed flexible electronic circuits. The crew is on a mission to develop low-cost, flexible circuits that will spur the imagination of the next generation of designers. In doing so, they aspire to put the ‘printed’ back into printed circuit boards by using a unique two-stage additive print-and-plate process that deposits solid copper onto low-cost flexible substrates. Building a board on these materials can have some significant advantages over conventionally manufactured PCBs.
If you follow along with our (*cough industry-leading cough*) Twitter account, then you saw how well the audience received CIT’s recent tweet of a see-through Arduino. Created as an example of a module built on low-cost PET, the ‘duino featured 50 micron clear PET and was based on an ATmega328P MCU, enabling it to be linked to other modules to devise entire systems.
“Our see-through Arduino was made to show how quick and simple it is to create your own modules, either as one-offs or in volume,” the team notes.
As part of this project, CIT also made a Bluetooth LE module, a capacitive touchpad set and LED indicator modules. By piecing these components together, you will have all the elements required to construct a Bluetooth widget – what that widget does is entirely up to you.
“This is where we can help you create the next module by printing the designs on PET. The flex circuits are printed on clear or white PET from 50 to 125 microns thick. The tracks are copper so you can solder SMT devices to the tracks using low temperature Tin Bismuth solder.”
PET flexible circuits open up interesting options when it comes to low-cost sensors for lightweight applications, including drones where every gram counts. And of course, these circuits can be folded into awkward shapes.
CIT first began crafting these modules as a sort of “educational” process so that they could document the steps when evolving a modular project to a final dedicated circuit and show how current digital printing processes are now mainstream. Today, the company can print flexible PCBs by the kilometer, and given that the process is completely digital, there are no masks or expensive tooling involved in the setup.
Intrigued? Head over to CIT’s official page here.