EoPlex builds factory for nanomanufacture of cell phone antennas

May 19, 2008 — EoPlex Technologies has secured new funding to build its first full-scale production plant. The company produces micro-scale components using nanodeposition techniques based on custom printing equipment and proprietary “inks” that carry ceramic, metallic or polymer materials. This, says EoPlex, allows the manufacture of micro-scale components with integrated chambers, channels, sensors, circuits, reactors, energy scavengers and other features.

The company announced its Series C funding of $8 million last year; that round was lead by ATA Ventures with the backing of all current investors, including Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Labrador Ventures, and Draper-Richards. The current increase raises this by an additional $4 million, bringing the total for the C round to $12 million.

According to Arthur L. Chait, EoPlex CEO, the additional funding is being used to build a production plant for the manufacture of state-of-the-art cell phone antennas. “Modern cell phones have two types of antennas: main antennas that connect to the cell phone network and ancillary antennas that link to services such as GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi, Wi-Lan, TV, etc. As cell phones continue to expand in services, yet shrink in size, the demand has increased for small, integrated antennas. The industry has been shifting from metal antennas to complex ceramic-metal antennas where the dielectric properties of the ceramic provide better performance in a smaller package.”

Manufacturing these antennas requires the ability to combine complex ceramic and metal structures in a tiny, monolithic part, and to create features such as buried conductors, voids and different dielectric materials in separate parts of the structure. This must be done at low cost. “All of these requirements are a perfect match for the EoPlex process,” continued Chait. “We see the opportunity to supply the cell phone industry with the capability to manufacture small and very unique designs at low cost and high volume. Our board wanted to move quickly on this opportunity and, therefore, the decision was made to increase the C-round.”

EoPlex is building the new facility in the space adjacent to its present location in Redwood City. Construction has already begun and the new facility is expected to be ISO9001 certified and in production by Q4 of this year.


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