Lithography-based Ceramics Manufacturing (LCM)

What is Lithography-based Ceramics Manufacturing?

LCM is a proprietary additive manufacturing technology developed by Lithoz, based on a DLP photopolymerization process. The technology was initially developed at TU Vienna more than a decade ago in 2006, by the same engineers who would go on to found Lithoz in 2011. Lithoz manufactures the CeraFab systems — the CeraFab 7500 and the CeraFab 8500 — and produces a number of ceramic-based materials: alumina, zirconia, silicon nitride, and tricalcium phosphate. Furthermore, the CeraFab systems are an open system allowing them to work with a great variety of customer-specific ceramic-based materials such as, among others, dielectrical ceramics, hydroxyapatite, bioglass, cermet, cordierite, porcelain and magnesium oxide. More information on these materials can be found here. Applications for this technology vary from medical to jewellery to consumer products, as well as various industrial applications.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Market leader for installed systems
  • High cost of hardwre
  • high resolution
  • High cost of materials
  • Widest selection of materials
  • Lack of market awareness

How does LCM work?

LCM works by polymerizing a ceramic powder suspended in a photosensitive resin. An LED light source projects onto the resin, and through mask exposure, selectively cures the resin and builds up the part layer-by-layer. This is the green part, which as Lithoz explain, can be viewed as a “composite of ceramic particles within a photopolymer matrix” acting to bind together the ceramic particles. The green part must then go through thermal post-processing: debinding to remove the photopolymer matrix and sintering to achieve final part density.

Available LCM 3D printers:

Lithoz LCM technology for 3D printing Ceramics

Lithoz manufactures two LCM machines, the CeraFab7500 and the CeraFab 8500. The two machines have an effective building volume of 76 × 43 × 170 mm 115 × 64 × 200mm respectively.

Model  CeraFab 8500
Manufacturer  Lithoz
Price (approx.) $300,000
Technology  LCM (laser stereolithography)
Materials  Technical Ceramics – LithaCon Zirconia, Lithaloz/Lithalox Alumina, Lithanit Silicon Nitride, Lithabone TCP
Effective Build Volume  115 x 64 x 150 mm
Layer Thickness  25 μm

You can find more information and the specifications for the machine here.

Further reading on Lithoz and LCM:

• AM Ceramics Event in Vienna Explores Latest Developments in 3D Printing of Ceramics
• SmarTech Issues First Report on Traditional and Technical Ceramics AM
• Lithoz Establishes a Subsidiary in America to Support Ceramics 3D Printing

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