Additive Manufacturing of Technical Ceramic Parts

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Technology abstract

The technology owner developed a 3D printing technology capable of producing Technical Ceramic parts directly from 3D CAD data. The parts are built ‘layer-by-layer’ using a highly filled, photo curable ceramic paste. Afterwards the green parts are debinded and sintered. Currently several ceramic materials can be processed, such as Aluminum Oxide (Al2O3), Aluminum Nitride (AlN), Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Piezoelectric ceramics (PZT).

The design of ceramic parts is limited by conventional production methods like milling, grinding and polishing. These process steps are time-consuming and expensive. Shaping techniques like extrusion, pressing and ceramic injection molding (CIM) allow more design freedom but require expensive tooling, which makes them only suitable for large volume manufacturing. For space applications usually one-offs or low quantities are required. Also high design freedom is desired to reduce assembly steps.

- Derk Schneemann -

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Technology Description

Technical Ceramic materials like SiC and AlN are difficult to process. The process steps are time-consuming and expensive. The design of ceramic parts is limited by conventional production methods like milling, grinding and polishing. Shaping techniques like extrusion, pressing and ceramic injection moulding (CIM) allow more design freedom but require expensive tooling which makes them only suitable for large volume manufacturing. For space applications usually one-offs or low quantities are required. Also high design freedom is desired to reduce assembly steps and to achieve lightweight constructions. With Additive Manufacturing it is possible to produce complex structures without additional or dedicated tooling directly from 3D CAD data.

Innovations & Advantages

At the moment there are no commercial additive manufacturing processes available that are capable of producing technical ceramic parts. Several universities and research centers are conducting research on this topic and some very promising results are achieved. The proposed technology differentiates it selves by the high level of accuracy, detailing, build speed, flexibility and the easy integration with 3D CAD data. 

Current and Potential Domains of Application

  • Medical and dental
  • Watch and jewelry
  • (Petro)chemical
  • Aeronautics
  • Automotive
  • Electronics