Israel-based Nano Dimension has been working at the forefront of efforts in 3D printing in electronics applications, paving the way with their unique DragonFly 2020 3D printer, a desktop machine with which we have become quite familiar ahead of its full commercial release. Following an extensive beta program with a number of highly regarded initial customers across a variety of industries, from defense to electronics manufacture, Nano Dimension is now changing things up on us with the introduction of the DragonFly 2020 Pro 3D printer.
The new, larger model replaces the desktop 3D printer, unveiled two years ago, that we’ve come to recognize at industry events around the world — and its change in size and capabilities represent enhancements directly resulting from beta customer feedback. If the options are go big or go home, Nano Dimension is going big.
The DragonFly 2020 Pro, now available for early access commercial sale, features updates on several fronts. To better understand the whats and whys behind the PCB 3D printer evolution, I turned to Nano Dimension Co-Founder and CBO Simon Fried, chatting ahead of the announcement to learn more about what the next-generation machine means for the company’s positioning in an agile market.
“This is not a huge update, but a significant one,” Fried told me of the unveiling of the Pro version of the machine.
As we near the full commercial approach of the electronics 3D printing system, the team acknowledges that some may be surprised by the new look of the machine. It is, however, all for good reason; while the Pro may not have the carefully designed sleek look of its predecessor, its larger size houses enhanced capabilities. What it lacks in aesthetics it more than makes up for in performance.
“There is a surprise in there in that the commercial system isn’t the same size as the one everyone has come to find familiar. This has been a direct result of the learnings and feedback collected during our beta program, both from users and from distributors. Incorporating those aspects, and as the result of some internal R&D work, we’re launching what we’re calling the 2020 Pro as opposed to the system people will be familiar with,” Fried told me.
The 2020 Pro was designed in reaction to real-world use case scenarios, as Nano Dimension strives to bring the best product to market. The feedback from customers was an invaluable resource in bringing about the new look — which also leaves room for future improvements.
Nano Dimension is moving ahead with the 2020 Pro without closing any doors; a potential future version scaled back down to desktop size may eventually make its way into office environments, while later generations may be able to be built into customers’ existing units. Upgradable 3D printers offer great benefits to user and manufacturer alike, as customers do not lose their financial investment with wholly new systems coming onto the market.
“This is not a desktop system, but a floor standing system that is a fair bit larger, obviously, certainly taller, with a larger footprint. The rationale for the system is very much in use cases, as we saw projects our beta customers are wanting to tackle and wanted to increase the resolution of printing and used higher-end components and delivering better print quality than the system as it was before. It is somewhat easier to service and maintain, and also a system that, through being somewhat larger, does have some space to enable future upgrades to the system, rather than launching with something that was very compact but wouldn’t have much in the way of space on that particular chassis. Users wanted to have some potential for incorporating new features which may roll out down the line, such as for example printheads — not that those are in any way available at the moment,” Fried said.
“The bottom line is it delivers higher resolution, easier servicing, and leaves the door open to potential upgrades about which I cannot give full detail at this moment. Essentially this is the system we’re launching at the moment, though we may return in the future to some sort of desktop format. We are going to market with this Pro version of the system.”
The company is additionally well aware that the machine has a new aesthetic — and this was intentional.
“The change in aesthetic also represents expectations of our beta users — it took us more in the direction of industrial type and larger R&D organization type use cases. This is more in keeping with those,” Fried told me.
The build envelope remains the same — as a 2020 3D printer, it has a 20 x 20 cm print area — as the enhancements are set to improve performance; the change, Fried explained, is “not so much about the size in technology we operate or the size of the print as it is about better print resolution and general system quality.” Also not seeing a change is the release timeline; work has been ongoing throughout the beta period, Fried assured me, as feedback has been taken into consideration.
“Now is the moment to share,” he told me. “This is not going to impact in any way our production plans or delivery time.”
In a statement with today’s announcement, Fried remarked, “Agility and keeping pace with rapidly changing customer expectations is a competitive differentiator. 3D printing with this next-generation DragonFly is transformational for electronics development. Optimizing workflows shrinks PCB design and test cycles from months or weeks, to days. More and easier iterations lead to greater innovation and better business outcomes.”
Nano Dimension describes the machine as a “one-stop solution for 3D-printed electronics” that offers the capabilities for users to:
- Print high resolution trace and space with the precise inkjet deposition system.
- Construct the full range of multilayer PCB features – including interconnections such as buried vias and plated through holes.
- Keep sensitive and proprietary design information in-house while developing.
- Enjoy the quick production of professional multilayer PCB prototypes, antennas, experimental electronic circuits and more, allowing for faster revisions and more creative board designs.
We’ll continue to keep up with the Nano Dimension team, and will see them soon at international 3D printing events, including TCT Show this month and formnext in November. You can get more information about the DragonFly 2020 Pro 3D printer here.
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