What is Fast Ceramics Production?
Fast Ceramics Production is a proprietary additive manufacturing technology developed by 3DCeram, who were amongst the first to produce ceramic parts from direct 3D printing. FCP is a SLA photopolymerization technology — whereby a laser is used to polymerize a paste made of up of photosensitive resin and ceramic material (alumina, zirconia and hydroxyapatite HA). With many industrial applications, FCP produces functional final parts that have the same chemical and mechanical properties — high strength, dimensional stability and corrosion resistance; thermal and electrical insulation; and chemical stability — as parts produced with traditional manufacturing processes.
One of the most interesting areas where 3DCeram has been pioneering the use of 3D printed ceramics is in bone substitutes and cranial implants. As this article explains, additive manufacturing allows for total control over the geometry of porous structures compared to traditional methods of producing implants. This promotes osteointegration and increases the compressive mechanical strength between living bone and the implant; reducing the change of inflammation and implant rejection.
3DCeram offers FCP through both their Ceramaker systems and through a design and printing service.
How does Fast Ceramics Production work?
FCP is essentially the propriety name for 3DCeram’s SLA technology, and therefore largely works like other SLA machines: a UV laser is used to selectively polymerize a vat of photosensitive material, layer-by-layer 25 to 100 microns in thickness. As with all ceramic parts, debinding and sintering of the green part is required to remove the resin and achieve the final density that gives ceramic parts their chemical and mechanical properties.
Where 3DCeram excels, is in their 3DMIX ceramic materials. They have developed a range of ready-to-print pastes including zirconia, alumina, hydroxyapatite (HAP), silicon nitride, cordierite, zirconsilica and silica. They’ve put together some useful data sheets illustrating the mechanical properties and applications: here are the links for zirconia, alumina and HAP.
Available FCP 3D printers:
3DCeram manufactures two machines: the Ceramaker C900 (image below) and the smaller Ceramaker C100. They have effective building volumes of 300 x 300 x 100 mm and 100 x 100 x 100 mm respectively.
|Materials||3DMIX Technical ceramics – Zirconia, Alumina, HAP|
|Effective Build Volume||300 x 300 x 100 mm|
|Layer Thickness||30 μm|
You can find more information and the specifications for the machines here.
Further reading on 3DCeram and FCP:
• Japan’s Sinto Group Acquires Majority Stake in Ceramics AM Pioneer 3DCeram
• 3DCeram Partner With University of Shandong, Send Ceramaker 900 Printer
• Ceramics 3D Printing Leader 3DCeram Partners with 3D Matters to Enter UK Market
• SmarTech Issues First Report on Traditional and Technical Ceramics AM
• Danish Researchers Implant Most Natural 3D Printed Bone Yet in Mouse