Nano Dimension CEO Amit Dror shares his outlook on the 3D printing market, discusses Nano’s collaboration with the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and the innovative solutions the company is bringing to the electronics industry.
Nano Dimension (TSE:NNDM; NASDAQ:NNDM) is a leading technology R&D company in the advancement of 3D electronics printing and nanotechnology ink products. The company is supported by a large team of experts across a wide-range of disciplines including mechanical design, hardware, software, 3D printing, physics and chemistry. The company’s lead product is the DragonFly 2020 3D printer, which is designed to print multi-layer professional printed circuit boards. Sales of Nano Dimension’s 3D printer began in late 2016.
Nano Dimension recently announced it has partnered with the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and will receive a grant to develop technology for the 3D printing of ceramic materials, designated for the Aerospace and Aviation sectors.
Investing News Network: For our readers who might not be familiar with Nano Dimension, please provide us a brief background on the company and your product, the DragonFly 2020 3D Printer.
Amit Dror: Nano Dimension is transforming the world of 3D printed electronics with a focus on the multi-billion-dollar market for professional printed circuit boards (PCBs), the circuits that make electronics work. Our DragonFly 2020 3D Printer brings together an extremely precise inkjet 3D printer, advanced nanoparticle inks and sophisticated software to enable ultra-rapid prototyping of complex, multilayer PCBs. This allows designers and engineers to print in-house rapid prototypes of functional PCBs, significantly reducing the time and complexity of developing electronics-enabled devices and bringing a range of products to market faster.
The 3D printing platform works in the following way: First, Nano Dimension’s software creates 3D-printable models from design files. Then, using inkjet technology, the DragonFly 2020 3D Printer lays down very thin layers of two kinds of ink in each print job: conductive silver nanoparticle ink, and a dielectric ink made from a proprietary polymer. By depositing these conductive and insulating inks in the right areas, the DragonFly 2020 is able to create multilayer printed circuit boards.
INN: The 3D printing sector is gaining momentum in 2017. How do you see the sector progressing over the next few years? What are the most influential drivers of this market?
AD: The future of 3D printing will be very interesting to follow in the next few years. We are already seeing a fast adoption of new additive manufacturing techniques and materials for rapid prototyping of parts with innovations ranging from applications in the healthcare sector to manufacturing and even aerospace. The main benefit is seen in designs that can be made very quickly at a low cost with iterations done in hours instead of days or even weeks. It is also being utilized to produce some end parts and custom devices with very complex geometries that are impossible with other techniques.
During the next few years we will most likely see a continued growth in entry-level machines and industrial additive manufacturing systems with the ability to overcome some of the sector’s biggest drawbacks to date: speed, scale, precision and new materials – to further increase the range of applications and decrease printing costs. The goal is to print fully functional customized objects in one build, including electronics.
INN: Nano Dimension recently announced a collaboration with the Israeli Ministry of Defense to develop 3D printing of ceramic materials for the Aerospace and Aviation Sectors. Please tell our readers more about this new partnership and the value it brings to your shareholders.
AD: The development of materials for 3D printed ceramics is very big news. Ceramics stand out for their high insulation and mechanical strength, elasticity, plasticity and more, making them ideal for high end customized applications for aerospace and aviation. In PCB manufacturing, for example, 3D printed ceramics is potentially revolutionary, since the insulation and mechanical strength properties are infinitely better than the properties of the materials currently used in the PCB industry.
INN: Nano Dimension has filed a patent for an innovative printing process that combines electronic components with PCBs. Please tell us more about the process and what industries will benefit from this breakthrough in technology.
AD: We have successfully 3D printed electric circuits in which we have embedded QFN (Quad Flat No Lead) components within the substrate, as an integral part of the printing process. This is achieved by repeatedly 3D printing layers of material outside designated layers, to create recesses that are tailored to the dimensions of the electrical components. In future, you can expect this embedded process to increase the reliability of the part since the encapsulated components are protected from external threats, such as corrosion and abrasion. In addition, we also expect cost and time reductions for complex electronic products in the development phase.
Eventually, component-embedding technology may allow for the development of new kinds of PCBs that disperse components through a printed object, or even play a structural role, instead of a standard flat design. This means that you will be able to do much more with less space than you can currently do with a standard PCB. Eventually, you may even be able to get rid of the PCB altogether but keep electrical functionality in the part.
INN: Much of the focus of Nano Dimension’s product development has been on technologies that are not only disruptive but also provide solutions. You have recently announced the development of a unique printing process and software that allows for the 3D printing of rigid PCBs with flexible conductive connectors in a single print. What does a technological innovation such as this mean for the electronics industry?
AD: Printing flexible connections eliminates the need to manually connect the circuits during the process of electronics production, enabling potential customers to benefit from high quality connections with high mechanical properties such as bending, twisting, and strength, while saving space and money. The market for flexible electronics is expected to see significant market growth in the next few years, in applications such as aerospace, missiles, IoT and wearables. One example of how such circuits may be used is during the process of creating a flexible watch, which could be thinner and more durable that one produced using currently available manufacturing methods, while decreasing time and money spent in the design and manufacturing phase. The electronics in the watch could potentially be printed using Nano Dimension’s technology, eliminating the need to manually add connectors. Thus, the watch could be thinner, more durable, and with flexibility properties that vary according to the ergonomic design of the watch.
INN: What are your plans for Nano Dimension in 2017 and what can investors look forward to in terms of catalysts this year?
AD: We have already delivered the DragonFly 2020 to six beta customers worldwide and we hope to continue to deliver more systems within the next few months, and expand our distribution partners worldwide. We are also continuing with our ongoing R&D and collaboration plans to develop more materials and features to the DragonFly system as well as complete the development of the nano-inks product facility currently under construction.
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