The supply chain is abuzz with discussion of disruptive technologies in manufacturing, from artificial intelligence to 3D printing. However, until recently, real-world examples have been sparse. Now, however, at least some technologies are hitting adoption in more visible ways. Phytec, a global maker of microprocessor-based solutions for industrial embedded devices, announced, for example, that it had purchased two DragonFly 2020 3D printers from additive electronics provider, Nano Dimension.
Phytec purchased the new DragonFly 2020 Pro 3D Printer, and converted its desktop DragonFly 2020 beta printer into a purchase after participating in the company’s beta program over the past year. What’s more, Phytec will become Nano Dimension’s first reseller of the DragonFly 2020 Pro 3D Printer in Germany. This move leverages Phytec’s technical sales expertise and its commercial and service infrastructure to accelerate the expansion of Nano Dimension’s customer acquisition capabilities in Europe.
Phytec CEO Bodo Huber. Image courtesy: Phytec
“We see the DragonFly 2020 Pro as the most advanced 3D PCB printer of today,” Bodo Huber, chief executive officer of Phytec, told EBN. “Our high-tech digital products and designs partially require highest level and up-to-date HDI PCB technology. The DragonFly 2020 Pro is the device which best fits our challenging requirements.” Huber said there’s still work to do to get everything needed out of the innovative technology, but believes he and his team can start to use the printer for less complex customer designs.
The announcement underscores Nano Dimension’s transition from its research and development (R&D) phase into full commercialization with marquee users, along with its commitment to expand its reseller network and geographic coverage in key markets.
A sample of a 3D-printed printed circuit board (PCB). Image courtesy: Phytec
What drove the decision to get into additive manufacturing? In working with traditional PCB manufacturers, Phytec is faced with lead times of at least seven working days for complex HDI PCBs, Huber said. By spending express fees, it’s sometimes able to reduce it to five working days. “This is still a noticeable break in the design process, so we want to be able to reduce the lead times for prototype PCBs to hours instead of days,” he added. “This is essential for agile hardware design where you want to iteratively add and improve hardware features of the product. So, using a DragonFly 2020 Pro will make our existing rapid design offerings even more attractive to our customers.”
When it comes to the reselling aspect, of course, Phytec has a plan. Since it’s been challenging the Dragonfly 3D PCB printing technology in its highest performance during the beta test of the product, Phytec has gained experience in using the product. This know-how serves as an excellent basis for the company to offer in-depth consulting for the reselling of the DragonFly.
A 3D-printed PCB sample from Phytec. Image courtesy: Phytec
Phytec will launch another subsidiary company whose business model is consulting and reselling the DragonFly and its consumables, while also doing on-site service and maintenance, according to Huber. This company will also offer the PCB print service to other customers who are not willing or capable of buying their own DragonFly 2020 Pro.
“This is an enhancement to our business and it will reach a new group of customers for us,” said Huber. “In parallel, the internal use of the DragonFly will help to strengthen our main company's business model, as it is the fastest possible way and state of the art to build PCBs for rapid prototyping.”
Future improvements of the DragonFly 2020 Pro might add even more sophisticated products and services to our offering.
Nano Dimension’s DragonFly 2020 Pro 3D Printer is set to transform electronic additive manufacturing by empowering companies to take control of their entire development cycle. The system enables the 3D-printing of functional electronics such as sensors, conductive geometries, antennas, molded connected devices, printed circuit boards, and other devices.