Technical Ceramics 3D Printing

Ceramics in additive manufacturing – convincing quality in every detail

Manufacturing highly precise components of impeccable quality in every detail has yet been very expensive and therefore uneconomic. The perfect solution for this problem are slurry based additive processes for technical ceramics like the Lithography based Ceramic Manufacturing (LMC). Where conventional methods of manufacturing reach the limit, the additive manufacturing of our 3D technical ceramics Form Ceram shows its predominence. Due to the LCM-technology based processing, we can manufacture smallest components in perfect precision impossible to produce in a conventional way. Moreover, the previous generative methods of manufacturing were only restrictedly suitable for prototyping. Due to the LCM-production method, we can manufacture prototypes that meet large-scale production quality standards as well as small and medium-sized series.

Processing of Lithography based Ceramic Manufacturing (LMC)

The LCM-process is a multiple additive manufacturing method for the production of technical 3D ceramics. Additive means that three-dimensional components are produced by adding of layers. The additive manufacturing is often called 3D printing or generative manufacturing. During the previous years it has been developed into an effective method of manufacturing complex components without tools.

During the Lithography based Ceramic Manufacturing, in a stereo-lithography process a slurry consisting of a UV-light sensitive monomer and a fine-grained ceramic powder is built up layer by layer into a green compact using CAD-data. After each layer the component is exposed to UV-laser light turning the liquid slurry into a solid due to polymerisation of resin. The polymer matrix serves as a binder among the ceramic particles and forms the skeletal structure of the component.

After that the green compact passes through a thermal process on several steps. During the thermal debinding the photo-sensitive polymer are removed. Subsequently by a sintering process the ceramic component gets its typically high density.

The resulting products dispose of a shiny and smooth surface and above all they are biocompatible, heat-resistant up to 1600°C, solid, non-conductive, wear-resistant, food safe and chemically resistant.

 

Applied materials

The LCM-process for the manufacturing of technical ceramics is basically suitable for all sinterable ceramic powders. For you, Steinbach AG produces technical 3D-printing ceramics made of alumina and zirconium oxide.

Alumina:

Alumina (A1203) is the most common material for the production of technical ceramics. Meanwhile, the material is well-researched in numerous studies. It mainly stands out due to its high density and extreme resistance. Additionally, due to its high-temperature qualities (> 1600°C) alumina responds to a big part of chemical and mechanical requirements made on ceramic materials.

Zirconium oxide:

Zirconium oxide (ZrO2) disposes of steel-related qualities and a high viscosity showing a low heat conductivity. Due to its good tribological qualities the material is suited to the application in medical science, for example for medical instruments. Also sliding components from this material in the technical field are possible.

Click here to get more information on the materials

 

Assets of the LCM-process

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Complex geometries in LCM technology using the example of a heat sink

One of the main assets of the LCM-technology is the design-driven construction process in which complex geometries like internal structures, cavities and undercuts can be realised. Additionally, the toolless manufacturing of components shortens the times of development and production and thus allows an economic fabrication of prototypes.

The method works extremely resource-friendly and cost-efficient as surplus material is recycled in further processes. Moreover, like all 3D-printing processes it enables a quick adjustment of the CAD-model without the need for extensively adjusting the tools.

Further information on proceeding and methods

 

3D-printing ceramics in application

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Ceramic 3D print - sample of a plasma nozzle

The additive LCM-process enables the manufacturing of complex geometries of high stability and precision for high-performance ceramics in the field of aerospace, medical technology and engineering in single item and small to medium-sized series.

A common area of application for example is the high-temperature technology. Here materials have to stand high temperatures of much more than 1000°C without showing fatigue or warp. Even the application in lightweight construction is backed up by the high hardness degree and by the comparatively low weight of the 3D-ceramics. Also ceramic materials are applied in medical technology resulting from high potentials as to biocompatibility and food safety.

We offer our competence in the field of additive manufacturing of technical ceramics in 3D-printing across all sectors, for example for:

  • analysis technology
  • plasma technology
  • space flight
  • medical technology
  • microelectronics
  • aerospace
  • thermal analysis
  • microreactors
  • corrosion-resistant pieces for the chemical industry

 

Qualities of 3D-printing technical ceramics manufactured by LCM-production

As in many aspects ceramics are more robust and more efficient than other materials, they are often described as materials of the future.

  • Our additively manufactured ceramics by LCM-technology mainly stand out due to the following features:chemical resistance to alkalis and acids
  • low density
  • insulating effect
  • low thermal expansion
  • high corrosion- and temperature resistance
  • extreme hardness
  • good tribological qualities
  • highly wear-resistant
  • excellently biocompatible and thus variably applicable in medical technology
  • high E-module at high temperatures
  • series quality
  • gas-tight components
  • shiny and smooth surface
  • complex geometry

 

Customized solutions for you

From lot size 1 onwards we produce your single item or your prototype according to your individual demands in the additive process. Series production is possible as well. We will be glad to advise you on the best ceramic material for your application. At the same time we will develop an optimisedCAD-model for you or create a computer simulation of the required components. In addition, the process allows the production of multiple versions of a component. Please call us or contact us by e-mail. We like to consult you thoroughly about our service portfolio and our customised solutions. We look forward to hearing from you!

Telephone: +49 5231 9607-73
E-mail: info-tc(at)steinbach-ag.de

Or use our contact form to send us a message.