World’s first 3D printed electronics system with Lights-Out Digital Manufacturing technology allows for 24/7 unattended, low-volume manufacturing of functioning circuitry
Israel-based Nano Dimension on July 24 introduced its new DragonFly Lights-Out Digital Manufacturing (LDM) printing technology, the industry’s only comprehensive additive manufacturing platform for round-the-clock 3D printing of electronic circuitry.
The initial deployment took place at the Munich premises of sensor and defense electronics provider HENSOLDT. The unique DragonFly LDM system is designed for Industry 4.0 and manufacturing for the Internet of Things and is the extension of the successful DragonFly Pro precision system, which is dedicated to printing electronic components such as multilayer Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs), antennas and sensors. The DragonFly LDM is already available through Nano Dimension’s global sales channel. In Germany, the launch of the DragonFly LDM was already initiated by Nano Dimension’s reseller, Phytec New Dimension.
Nano Dimension’s DragonFly LDM extends 3D printing for printed electronics beyond prototyping to true in-house, lights-out digital manufacturing, enabling one-off prototypes as well as low-volume manufacturing of printed electronics.
The DragonFly LDM augments the capabilities of the award-winning DragonFly Pro system with new, proprietary, state-of-the-art technology that enables 24/7 uninterrupted 3D printing. Improvements include the optimisation of Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and significantly bettered workflow and production processes of 3D printed electronics.
The DragonFly LDM combines new advanced printer head software management algorithms with an automatic self-cleaning of its print heads every few hours, and is equipped with a real-time automatic material monitoring system that ensures maximised runtime while minimising the frequency and duration of scheduled downtime to typically just one weekly maintenance operation.
HENSOLDT started working with a DragonFly system in 2016, in order to examine the possibilities of 3D printing electronics and is still active in innovative field of technology.
For HENSOLDT, the existing working experience in realising 3D printed multilayer circuits with the multi-material inkjet-process, offered by Nano Dimension, shows that a high amount of personal care is needed to keep the printer system operational. The implementation of the new LDM system allows for a significant reduction of time and cost for realizing circuits, which are often needed as fast as possible.
During the joint LDM-campaign, HENSOLDT contributed by generating reference circuits to outline the advantages of the new LDM system.
The comparison of the actual printing time showed that the LDM system achieves more than 40% higher printing time.
“The DragonFly LDM is a necessary evolutionary setup up from the DragonFly Pro, enabling low-volume manufacturing of electronic circuits fast and easy to do in-house, with minimal operator time. It will be a great addition for Hensoldt, enabling us to develop innovative applications faster and with far better machine availability and lower maintenance than ever before,” said Andreas Salomon, responsible project leader for 3D printed electronics at HENSOLDT.
The Lights-Out Digital Manufacturing (LDM) is a manufacturing methodology in which systems run with little to no human intervention, around the clock. In the case of additive manufacturing, LDM means DragonFly users can 3D-print more functioning electronic circuitry faster, extending the DragonFly’s rapid prototyping capabilities and increasing opportunities for short-run, small volume manufacturing of printed electronics.