Additive Manufacturing of High-Performance Ceramics

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Technology abstract

An Austrian SME is system provider for Additive Manufacturing (3D-Printing) of high performance ceramics. The technology provider covers the whole process chain form the development of the machine, the materials up to the application. The patented LCM-technology offers very high resolution and very good reproducibility. It achieves the same or similar material properties as conventional ceramic forming technologies. Technical cooperation for joint technology adaptation is sought.

Technology Description

High-performance ceramics possess exceptional mechanical properties in many respects. Hence, they are usually employed in environments where other materials fail (extreme temperatures, extreme mechanical loads, corrosive environments, extreme tribological stress, medical applications, etc). Fields of application include the automotive industry (e.g. diesel particulate filter), special machinery manufacture (e.g. textile industry), electrical engineering (e.g. functional ceramics), medical engineering (e.g. implants and dentures), jewellery (e.g. watch cases) and household (e.g. premium-quality mills). Based on the concept of additive manufacturing technologies a specific procedure for the structuring of ceramics was developed at the Vienna University of Technology. This concept was further optimized and commercialized. The new procedure makes the fast and economical generation of both single parts and small scale series possible, with material properties being equal to serial parts from conventional manufacturing processes. The technology is based on the selective curing of a photosensitive resin which contains homogeneously dispersed ceramic particles. The centrepiece of the process is a specifically designed imaging system which enables the transfer of the layer information by means of the latest LED-technology. This innovative imaging technique along with special projection optics even allows the production of small structures and very fine details. Through many years of experience in research and development the company has gained a lot of competences in the development of AM for high performance ceramics and offers its customers a diversity of materials and support along the whole process chain.

Innovations & Advantages

The LCM technology offers:

• Tool-free production of individual parts and concurrent production of small batch series or various individual parts up to series of hundred parts

• High performance ceramics with the same material characteristics as in serial production

• Sophisticated geometries in injection moulding quality that cannot be produced with conventional manufacturing methods

• High density, high strength and high precision

• Excellent surface quality, no need for post-processing

• Resource-efficient through waste-free, material-saving production

• Direct production from CAD data

Current and Potential Domains of Application

Medical (Handicap aids), Industrial ceramic parts, Manufacturing tools, Space