In an exclusive interview with Abhimanyu Chavan, Director at Manufactur3D Magazine, Amit Dror, CEO of Nano Dimension shares his insights on the use of Additive Manufacturing technology in the electronics industry, talks about the company’s award-winning 3D printer, the challenges that hamper the widespread adoption of the technology in the electronics industry and much more.
Q Tell us about Nano Dimension and its journey until now?
A Nano Dimension’s start was a little less rosy with no investor quite understanding the new and innovative technology that the company planned to offer. However, not long after the company was listed on the Tel Aviv stock exchange and Nasdaq (NNDM) stock market. Nano Dimension became a fully-fledged company which has continued to grow year on year. Nano Dimension’s technology will soon impact the future of every industry from medical devices and telecommunications to the defence, aerospace and automotive industries, and will heavily influence our personal future in years to come.
Today, we have an unmatched product portfolio including the unrivalled and award-winning DragonFly™ Pro System for Precision Additive Manufacturing of Printed Electronics. This machine essentially prints simultaneously Nano-metal and complex-polymer which has never been done before. This means that electronics can be produced more quickly and securely in-house, with lower costs and disruptive designs than ever before. We are enabling the electronics industry to catch up with the fast-paced world of today – something it has not yet been able to do, and print electronics immediately and in-house. This makes our solution a cost-effective, highly efficient and accessible way to produce the much needed electronics proliferating through our lives today – in smaller sizes and even different shapes.
I try not to be biased when I say this, but we have created outstanding products and a system, which is not only the first ever of its kind in the world and completely unrivalled, it is also a system that will become a necessity, not a luxury, for many industries very soon.
Q What, according to you, are the reasons that helped Nano Dimension reach the leading position in the 3D printed electronics market?
A The key differentiation lies in the technological barriers Nano Dimension has managed to overcome. Being able to inkjet print two very different materials, nano-silver and complex-polymer, in the same printing process is unique. It’s not just being able to print them together, but it is also the ability to reach the electrical as well we mechanical characteristics and properties required in order to support printed circuit boards (PCB), sensor, antennas and similar components.
Q Can you tell us about the electronics market and where the benefits lie for the market? Which are the key products which Nano Dimension targets? What is the approximate size of the electronics industry which you are targeting?
A Benefit lies in a variety of industries since Electronics is everywhere. Looking into the future and as part of the Industry 4.0 transformation we foresee usages of additive manufacturing of electronics in various industries: Defence for rapid prototyping and end use parts. Automotive, rapid prototyping, saving weight, smart-parts. Research – focus on non-planar and antennas. Aero-Space – rapid prototyping, low volume production, antennas. Consumer – rapid prototyping, high-volume production. Medical – high-volume production. IoT – high-volume production, sensors.
Q What are some of the key trends that you observe will boost or challenge the adoption of 3D printing in electronics sector? What are some of the major challenges, faced by Nano Dimension, for the proliferation of additive manufacturing in the electronics sector?
A There are a couple of challenges – One is the need to deal with educating a mature market of electronics manufacturing. Electronics Engineers and manufacturers are used to certain standards which were defined in accordance with the traditional manufacturing of FR4 and subtractive etching of copper. Additive manufacturing is a different technology, but not identical. There is a need to design for additive and to adopt new methods to validate standards.
The second challenge is the need for mass production – For now the 3D printed electronics is at an early stage and can support low volume. These challenges impact the adoption rate. Having said that, it is clear to me that just like the print industry and data industry transformed to digital manufacturing– Also the electronics industry would continue to change and transform to additive manufacturing.
Q Are there any challenges on the software’ front? Are the current modelling software able to design non-planar objects? Do you feel the modelling software is lagging behind?
Actually the design software players are in the front of the revolution. We are in contact with most of the tier1 software suppliers and the trend of merging EDA with CAD, to provide solutions for Mechatronics, is adopted by all major players. I’m convinced that we will see more of that in the near future. Nano dimension can support most of the software today with gerber file formats and stl files.
Q What sort of products do your customers mostly print on DragonFly 3D printer?
A Multilayer rigid PCB for prototyping, PCB with Side contacts, Antennas up to 6Ghz for IoT and other usages, Transmission line up to 20Ghz, 3D Battery Socket as port of the PCB, Inductors for Q chargers and sensors such as torque touch and strain gauge. At proof of concept level, there is support also for Vertically integrated ICs and Transformers.
Q What is the next step for Nano Dimension? Will we see a new 3D printer soon or are you working more towards developing new materials? Any new material developments?
A Nano Dimension is targeting to maintain its leadership by moving closer to production. A more robust with higher MTBF and throughput as well as new materials to support new and better applications. As for the timing, this we will keep as a surprise.
Q Can you tell us about some of the recent research & development at Nano Dimension?
A Nano Dimension R&D is wide and deep. It involves all aspects of our activity. The printer was designed and developed by our mechanical engineering team. The nano material and complex polymer materials by our chemistry experts. The process by our physics and algorithm software experts. In fact we are proud of creating as well as manufacturing all of our goods in house in Israel.
Q Any comments on the Indian 3D Printing Industry? Any plans to enter the market at this stage?
A Yes, of course. The focus is more on the Indian Electronics development and manufacturing market rather than 3D Printing Industry. We see India as an excellent opportunity for Nano Dimension and we are in contact with several potential resellers. We expect to start actively sell in India once we have a reseller that can meet our requirements.
In our Experts Q&A section, Abhimanyu Chavan, Director at Manufactur3D Magazine, interviews industry leaders from the Additive Manufacturing community and gain insights from them on the 3D printing technology, the developments in the global 3D printing industry, and also on India’s 3D printing industry in particular.