3D Printing, Electrical Design, Nano Dimension

Introducing the New DragonFly LDM for Printing Electronics

By TriMech on August 7, 2019

Nano Dimension announces the new DragonFly LDM 3D printer for manufacturing electronics. This unique system brings a specialized Lights-Out Digital Manufacturing (LDM) technology and additional diagnostic automation which enables the system to run around-the-clock with little to no monitoring. This is the first of it's kind for Nano Dimension and enables 24/7 uninterrupted 3D printing for greater production output which results in a significant decrease in time and labor cost for realizing in-house printing of electronics.

Nano Dimension's DragonFly Platform

Both of Nano Dimension’s DragonFly systems are contactless, multi-material, inkjet deposition printers. This technology deposits a dielectric material or a conductive material to copy the image from your electronic design automation (EDA) design. This gives users the ability to add layers as they go and create limitless designs without plating, drilling, etching or pressing to create new features. Electrical engineers appreciate the reduced time needed when producing electronic prototypes by 3D printing the fully-functioning devices in house with a single print.
>> Learn more about how the DragonFly platform recently created the world's first fully functional 3D printed IoT communications device.

DragonFly 3D printed device versus conventionally manufactured deviceDragonFly 3D printed device versus conventionally manufactured device

Lights-Out Digital Manufacturing (LDM)

Lights-Out Digital Manufacturing is a state-of-the-art technology that requires very little assistance from users. The concept originated from the idea of an automated factory that could run even with the "lights out" and no workers were present. Automation has always been an essential part for manufacturing and adding the LDM technology to the mix introduces a new level of efficiency in factories.

Nano Dimension adopted this concept with their own technology of 3D printing fully-functioning electronic devices in a single print. Now, these electronics can be 3D printed around the clock with very little user interaction. Nano Dimension reported that the use of lights-out manufacturing reduced labor costs by 10%.

The New DragonFly LDM

Nano Dimension tested their new printer with a sensor and defense electronics provider, HENSOLDT. As part of this study Nano Dimension reported, "Their testing of the new system showed the LDM system achieves more than 40% higher printing time than our prototyping machine, the DragonFly Pro." 
>> Read more about HENSOLDT's experience with the DragonFly LDM.

Nano DragonFly LDM

Core Features

  • Precise inkjet deposition system capable of 3D printing multi-layer circuit boards (PCBs), coils, capacitors, sensors and antennas
  • Lights-Out Digital Manufacturing capability for 24/7 uninterrupted 3D printing
  • Automatic print head self-cleaning 
  • Automatic material monitoring
  • 3D-optimized software package that prepares common electronic designs for printing

Connectivity plays a big role in the success of the lights-out manufacturing enhancements found on the DragonFly LDM. Nano Dimension explained, "lights-out manufacturing relies on full connectivity between each portion of a factory and among different manufacturing assets that perform different processes—often referred to as digital manufacturing. Transforming disparate processes into an integrated end-to-end system is made possible with IoT devices that gather data and provide inter-connectivity between various portions of a factory."

>> Read our related article "What is Industry 4.0 and How Do We Get There?"

DragonFly LDM vs. DragonFly Pro

The DragonFly LDM offers many system updates that decrease machine downtime and maintenance. With an on-board camera and added sensors, calibration can be monitored in real time which increases up time. The no-contact automated print-head washing module is an added bonus that is hard to ignore. This cleaning system is operated by algorithms and washes the inkjet heads every few hours, a feature that no other DragonFly 3D printer offers.

The DragonFly Pro and DragonFly LDM do have some similarities. They both have a build volume of 160mm x 160mm x 3mm. They also share dual print heads that are designated for silver nano particles and other dielectric inks. The minimum layer thickness for both of these printers is at 17 microns and with dielectric materials it is at 35 microns. 

Nano DragonFly Printing Process

Although there are similarities between the DragonFly Pro and DragonFly LDM, Nano Dimension stated in a press release, “We’re confident that the LDM system will provide best-in-class additive manufacturing of printed electronics on the market, making it possible for companies to be more innovative, improve productivity and reliability, lower costs and reduce time-to-market.” If you already own DragonFly Pro, Nano Dimension has stated that all customers are eligible for an upgrade to the DragonFly LDM. 

Ready to learn more about the new DragonFly LDM? Check out our product page for a complete spec sheet  or request a quote today! 

DragonFly LDM