Drawing upon 20 years of experience designing ink jet print heads, engineers at Dimatix developed this economical table-top-sized unit targeted at "one-off" circuit designs when engineers want to prove out a concept or quickly build a prototype. Martin Schoeppler, vice president of business development, explains that engineers were not able to use conventional thermal ink jet technology in the DMP-2800 because the heat would destroy metals and other organic materials. So they designed a piezoelectric, all-silicon printhead and acoustic membrane to create the droplets instead. To add versatility, a "fill-your-own-cartridge" system lets engineers work with their own dispensing materials at a lower cost than conventional prototyping. Capable of a very precise placement of material to create line widths in the micrometer range, Schoeppler says the printer could provide a quick means for a design engineer to build and test complex circuits that require numerous masking steps or to test out new material combinations. "In a matter of hours, a design engineer could print out several different versions of a multi-layered complex circuit, eliminating the need to go outside and pay a lot of money to have prototypes built and share intellectual property with a third party," says Schoeppler. At a cost of less than $30,000, compared to $100,000 and up for the specialty print heads employed for high-volume-production machines, the DMP 2800 seems almost like a steal. For more information, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4917-638.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.