Exclusive Interview: XTPL CEO Dr. Filip Granek Discusses 3D Printing Electronics


Nano Dimension, through its joint venture with J.A.M.E.S, aims to advance the implementation of 3D printed electronics. At the beginning of this year, they assembled users of Additively Manufactured Electronics in their Munich office where I had the opportunity to interview participating panel members.

In attendance was Dr. Filip Granek, the CEO of XTPL, a firm engaged in developing “deep technology for additive manufacturing of electronics.” Granek maintains that printed electronics have a massive application range, covering areas like displays, semiconductors, advanced PCBs, biosensors, and anticounterfeiting.

The main emphasis is on improving the resolution to achieve features as minuscule as “one micrometer, roughly 100 times smaller than the width of a human hair,” Granek commented. XTPL’s focus concentrates on ultra-high-resolution dispensing of relevant functional materials for electronics manufacture, including metals, semiconductors, and insulating materials. This stride in resolution, partnered with functional materials, is anticipated to open up many possibilities in next-generation electronics such as flat panel displays, advanced semiconductor packaging, and bio-sensors.

Realizing this level of precision is a significant challenge. Granek elucidated, “Our method relies on dispensing. Delivering functional liquids through an extremely small nozzle.” He compared the procedure to “squeezing toothpaste from a tube,” highlighting the use of highly viscous inks and minute nozzles with a “diameter as tiny as one micrometer.”

Granek pointed out the importance of their technology when applied to the unique geometries found in microelectronics. He noted that microelectronics, when examined closely, are not flat but exhibit a “highly complex topography.” He stated that “on the microscale, direct electronics become very three-dimensional,” hinting at a potential shift in our understanding and interaction with electronics in the future. Granek emphasized the challenges and implications of this shift, underscoring the necessity to “write electrical interconnections not just on the horizontal plane, but also on a vertical plane, with good adhesion to both layers.” In his view, this functionality will revolutionize the design and use of electronic devices in the future.

Applications for XTPL’s printing method

Granek provided more information on the potential uses of their high-resolution dispensing technology in the electronics manufacturing industry. Among the potential applications, he identified wearables and medical applications. However, he mentioned that the company mainly focuses on “innovative flat panel displays,” particularly those that are considerably miniaturized and intended to be close to our eyes. These displays require a three-dimensional form and outstanding resolution. Granek further noted that ” the domain of advanced packaging in the semiconductor industry,” particularly for “connecting individual chips in a three-dimensional fashion with high resolution,” is another key application area for their technology.

Discussing the impact of their forefront developments in relation to smart factories or the Internet of Things (IoT), Granek conceded to the pandoras box that it could open, but was fast to clarify that XTPL’s primary intention isn’t consumption. Rather, its focus leans heavily on “functionality in the production line.” Interestingly, he imagined this breakthrough being assimilated into “IoT or VR devices.” Granek also threw the spotlight on the escalating importance of bigger chips in the realm of artificial intelligence. As chips expand in size, they provide better computational power, but this comes with the precondition of perfection in every aspect. He foresees their high-resolution dispensing tool taking up a critical role, acting like a “local surgeon,” in correcting imperfections or “production line defects.” It thereby boosts production yield and maximizes gains from these progressively costly larger chips.

Moving from Laboratory to Fabrication

XTPL envisions to revolutionize the microelectronics world, and executes it with a two-fold approach. First off, the company supplies a “standalone R&D printer” that assists “innovators across Europe, the US, and a few major countries” in their trailblazing and evaluation efforts. On the flip side, Granek shared that they have a “printing engine” that meshes impeccably with “third-party systems.” Partnering tightly with capital equipment manufacturers who already have deep roots in supply chains across various sectors like flat panel display, semiconductor, and printed circuit board, XTPL is vying to be an indispensable element of their expanded machinery.

Transitions, however, come with their own set of challenges. Reflecting over XTPL’s evolution, Granek noted that the firm is at an indispensable “changing phase.”. The company, established almost a decade ago, has been mostly involved in nurturing its technology. With its market entry now, both “favorable” and “critical” user feedback is steering its path. Granek endorsed the current difficulty in moving their technology “from the laboratory setting into the ruthless mass production colosseum of present-day electronics.” This leap from “lab to fab” doesn’t come easy, but Granek’s dedication to make the company’s dream a reality is palpable.

3D printing electronics. Photo via XTPL.

Tools and Solutions for Next Generation Manufacturing

In charting the course for XTPL’s next five years, CEO Filip Granek unveiled a strategy. The plan is primarily focused on “heavily deploying our printing modules” and strengthening partnerships within the capital equipment sectors. Granek’s vision includes positioning XTPL as “a recognized and accepted supplier of high-resolution dispensing solutions” across various industries, stretching from flat panel displays to semiconductors and printed circuit boards. The ambition doesn’t stop there. Granek highlighted XTPL’s goal to “become a household name” and discusses the probability of its technology being integrated into products we might buy “in the next 2-3-4 years from a major market or supermarket.”

XTPL has no intentions to halt its innovation drive. Granek conveyed the company’s plan to fine-tune its technology, aiming for augmented speed and precision to accommodate future application needs.

Granek expressed his excitement for international manufacturing initiatives, mentioning significant efforts such as the CHIPS Act in the US and Germany’s commitment to semiconductor plants. He interprets these steps as a promising indication, observing a trend towards bringing manufacturing back to Europe and the US. Granek sees this as more than simply creating a manufacturing base; he believes it opens up opportunities to support “innovators who develop tools and solutions for future-generation manufacturing.” With a focus on sustainable, green, and competitive production, he thinks this situation will benefit XTPL’s expansion.

Is it possible to reduce the wastage of materials?

CEO of XTPL, Filip Granek, highlights the environmental impact of semiconductor manufacturing and explains how additive processes can minimise waste and improve efficiency. According to Granek, traditional semiconductor manufacturing relies heavily on “subtractive processes” which often leads to unnecessary waste of rare earth materials. He states that “to produce fine features, we discard most of these rare materials,” using only a small portion for specific functions.

With the adoption of high-resolution additive solutions, this method can be transformed. Granek emphasises the potential of additive techniques, proposing that “rather than wasting 99% of the materials” – which are extracted at substantial energy and carbon costs – industries can improve the utilization of these scarce materials. Considering the quick pace of global change and limited access to certain resources, Granek opines that efficiency in the use of these materials will become critical.

Global worries about resource limitations are escalating, and Granek’s thoughts on China’s decision to limit exports of two pivotal materials are noteworthy. He foresees this as the onset of a global difficulty we will soon confront. Granek advocates for the efficient use of scarce materials, especially given the substantial energy required for their mining and purification. “It’s not productive to spend a lot of effort mining rare materials and then squander them during the production process,” Granek points out, staunchly supporting more judicious resource management.

Additionally, Granek highlights the exponentially increasing role of additive manufacturing in electronics, testifying to its relevance in the rapidly transforming tech landscape. He asserts, “Numerous initiatives and activities in both the research and industry sectors are actively focusing on the application of additive manufacturing in electronics, and it’s becoming a reality.” The significance of these advancements for the future generation of electronics can’t be overstated, he emphasizes.

Wondering who’s at the forefront of the industry? Check out the 3D Printing Industry Awards Winners.

Original source


“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”

Like it? Share with your friends!


Meet the mastermind behind NozzleNerds.com: GCode-Guru, a 3D printing wizard whose filament collection rivals their sock drawer. Here to demystify 3D tech with a mix of expert advice, epic fails, and espresso-fueled rants. If you've ever wondered how to print your way out of a paper bag (or into a new coffee cup), you're in the right place. Dive into the world of 3D printing with us—where the only thing more abundant than our prints is our sarcasm.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
The Classic Internet Listicles
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Youtube and Vimeo Embeds
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Photo or GIF
GIF format