Few materials in the world of manufacturing offer as wide a range of applications as ceramics. When it comes to additive manufacturing, the wide range of ceramic applications and material types is further expanded by the even wider range of different ceramics additive manufacturing processes that have been—and are continuously—researched, validated and implemented in ceramic manufacturing.
Ceramics additive manufacturing has been studied for close to two decades (almost as long as AM has existed) and while it has shown great promise from the very beginning only very recently have the first real, practical and commercial applications of ceramics 3D printing begun to emerge.
With all digital additive manufacturing processes for ceramic production, indeed as with all traditional ceramics production, the printed parts must undergo considerable post-processing before reaching their desired mechanical and chemical properties and final-part density. In essence, photopolymerization processes first require debinding in order to remove the polymer, and then all technologies require the parts to be sintered — unless, of course, you’re printing sand molds and cores for metal casting.
Whilst these additional steps make 3D printing in ceramics — from digital file to final part — a somewhat slower process than other AM technologies for other materials, these steps are also required when using traditional manufacturing techniques. And considering the advantages that AM brings compared to traditional techniques — such as design freedom, complex geometries, full customization (particularly in biomedical applications), low-to-zero material waste, and lower costs on low-volume production — then, on balance, ceramics is already establishing itself as a relevant important and profitable section of the AM industry.
Interactive ceramics additive manufacturing technologies infographic:
The infographic below shows the 5 main technology families and each proprietary technology. If you click below, you’ll be able to learn more about each technology: what it is, how it works, available machines, compatible materials, the general advantages and disadvantages, as well as some further reading.
|Fast Ceramics Production (FCP) by 3DCeram|
|ADMAFLEX by ADMATEC|
|MOVINGLight by Prodways|
|Lithography-based Ceramics Manufacturing (LCM) by Lithoz|
|Large Area Maskless Photopolymerization (LAMP) by DDM Systems|
Binder Jetting Technologies
|3DP by ExOne|
|Phenol Direct Binding (PDB) by voxeljet|
|CerPrint by WZR|
|ColorJet Printing (CJP) by 3D Systems|
Pneumatic Extrusion Technologies
|Liquid Deposition Modeling (LDM) by WASP|
|Fused Feedstock Depositioning (FFD) by 3D-figo|
|3D Bioplotter by EnvisionTEC|
|Micro Dispensing by nScrypt|
Powder Bed Fusion Technologies
|Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) by HP|
|Direct Laser Microfusion (DLM) by OsseoMatrix|
Material Jetting Technologies
|NanoParticle Jetting (NPJ) by XJet|