TriMech’s solution partner, Nano Dimension, has recently created the world’s first fully functional 3D printed Internet of Things (IoT) communications device. They were able to 3D print, assemble and test the device 90% faster than traditional manufacturing using their proprietary additive manufacturing process. This milestone brings with it exciting new possibilities for how we design and create the next generation of smart devices.
What is IoT?
IoT is the technology where physical devices can connect to, and/or be controlled by, the Internet. You might have heard your coworker talking about their “smart” home. They’re most likely referring to a few devices in their home that are now connected to the Internet such as having lights that can be turned on/off remotely, smart fridges that can send a reminder that you are out of milk and children’s toys that can demand to be played with. These devices are reshaping how we interact with electronics.
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First Fully Functional 3D Printed IoT Communication Device
Nano Dimensions used their award winning DragonFly 2020 Pro 3D printer, to create a complete remote–control type IoT device, smaller than a silver dollar coin (16 x 33 x 1.6mm). The device is currently in its qualification phase, and Nano Dimensions believe that it can be developed into a two-way communication device (transmitter and receiver) similar to a router.
This was possible due to the Dragonfly’s unique ability to 3D print both conductive and insulating material, which in turn enables the production of complex functional components such as printed circuit boards (PCBs), flexible electronics, antennas/ RFIDs, sensors, electromagnets and other experimental circuits right off the printer tray.
The complete device was printed, assembled and tested in approximately 18 hours. That is about 90% faster than traditional (non 3D printed) devices which currently take approximately 14 days (336 hours) or more. The ability to print this fully-functional device (basically a complete miniature circuit board) in such a short amount of time brings out new opportunities for not only companies that manufacture smart devices, but enterprises that manufacture autonomous vehicles with the number of sensors needed on each vehicle.
Amit Dror, CEO of Nano Dimension, said: “An
ever-greater emphasis is being placed on smart cities, smart buildings, smart homes and smart products by industries and consumers alike. Our solution enables companies to speedily trial and finalize their prototypes in just one day without compromising on quality or performance. They no longer have to wait over a fortnight to understand whether their smart device works or not. This ultimately increases product and cost efficiencies and reduces time to market, which means that the consumer can enjoy the benefits of these products faster than ever before.”
The market continues to demand faster, smaller and more interconnected smart products. Companies that don’t innovate to meet this demand are being left behind, but the majority of brands struggle with developing smart devices either because of the long lead times or prototyping costs. With Nano Dimension’s new development, moving into the smart device realm just became more of a reality for more industries.
For an in-depth look at the DragonFly 2020 and some real-life examples that demonstrate the advantages of 3D printed electronics, watch Nano Dimension’s on-demand webinar “Recent Innovations: 3D Printed Electronics.”