Additive manufacturing technology

Continuous, lights-out digital manufacturing of electronics

Continuous, lights-out digital manufacturing of electronics.
Step into the future: Hensoldt ALM project manager Andreas Salomon (left) and Nano Dimension’s Director Sales EMEA Valentin Storz with first PCB output. Source: Nano Dimension Ltd.

Nano Dimension Ltd., an additive electronics provider for electronics, introduced its 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. This 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, capacitors and sensors. In Germany, the launch of the DragonFly LDM was already initiated by the company’s reseller, Phytec New Dimension.

What is LDM

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 rapid prototyping capabilities and increasing opportunities for short-run, small volume manufacturing of printed electronics.

The solution 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 previous Pro system with new, proprietary, state-of-the-art technology that enables 24/7 uninterrupted 3D printing. Improvements include the optimization of Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and workflow and production processes of 3D printed electronics.

It combines new advanced printer head software management algorithms with an automatic self-cleaning of its print heads every few hours. The new system is equipped with real-time automatic material monitoring capabilities that ensure maximized runtime. It also minimizes the frequency and duration of scheduled downtime to typically just one weekly maintenance operation.

Features & benefits

  • Long uninterrupted printing for increased uptime and improved yield
  • Supports 3D printed multilayer PCBs, capacitors, coils, sensors, antennas and more
  • Simpler and faster operation with minimal maintenance
  • New automatic printhead self-cleaning system

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 them, the existing working experience in realizing 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 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.

www.nano-di.com; www.hensoldt.net

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