First company worldwide to make 3D prints of ceramics

Friday November 29, 2013 09:56

With ECN know-how, Formatec Ceramics and Innotech Europe are launching a new company, which will be the first company in the world to print ceramics quickly and at a very high quality. 

The photo demonstrates the large range of possibilities of ceramic 3D printing. In the left far corner you can see a ceramic filer element. In front of it are the worm drives for the SMT driving units. In the front centre is a gear with a complex shape. Behind it you can see an electrical connector. On the right front side lies a printed watch case made of ceramics.

Early 2013, the injection moulding company Formatec Ceramics, consultancy firm Innotech Europe B.V. and ECN joined forces to develop a process for printing ceramics. Only a few months later, a procedure was ready for use, titled ADMAFLEX, which is able to process ceramics into all kinds of shapes through a printing process. In the last few months, this collaboration has already yielded unique ceramic products for various clients. From now on, these clients can turn to the new company: ADMATEC Europe B.V. 

Exposing layers to light

The three partners have used a technique that resembles the 'Digital Lighting Process'. They used it to develop a printer in which ceramic material, mixed with a photopolymer layer, is exposed to light layer by layer to cure. Next the photopolymer is baked out. After the sintering treatment the ceramic product is ready for use. 

Benefits

This method is able to make 3D prints much faster than any other 3D print technology. Moreover, a much better quality of materials can be realised with DLP as compared to conventional 3D printing techniques: it yields very homogenous materials that show equally spread density and conductivity. This technique can also be used to produce metals and composite materials such as cermets. 

ECN’s contribution

ECN is responsible for the method and the process to be followed: what is the best method for mixing the ceramic material with the photopolymer? What is the best curing method? And what is the smartest way to remove the photopolymer without changing the shape of the product?

Production 

Clients can turn to ADMATEC Europe B.V. for the production of all kinds of shapes in ceramics. Meanwhile, the three partners are further developing the options of printing other materials with the same technology, such as metals and cermets.

Are you interested in the options of DLP printing for your products? Jaco Saurwalt will be happy to tell you more about it. Give him a call at +31 (0)88 515 46 96.
Or you can contact ADMATEC Additive Manufacturing Technologies, De Sonman 29, Moergestel, info@remove-this-part-admatec.nl.

 

Category: November, Engineering & materials, Corporate