Working in cooperation with Spanish company IAMTech 2019 S.L., Industrial Additive Manufacturing (aka Mahor-xyz), a company specializing in MEX-based 3D printing, Hong Kong-based ceramic material specialist GC Advanced Material Solutions was able, only after minor printer adaptations, to print different test parts, such as the one in the above image. The feedstock was based on highly-loaded technical alumina powder. “The tube-shaped part may, to our knowledge, be one of the thinnest and large parts ever printed using this type of technology”, as also mentioned by R. Pompe.
The MEX-based (Material Extrusion) AM technologies, particularly for ceramics, are of significant interest as a most straightforward manufacturing path, without constraints such as slow build rate, exclusive chemicals and/or huge equipment investments (with still nonexistent 2nd hand market). Consequently, the preferred way for many part producers still is to buy a powder of their choice, mix it with a binder and introduce this feedstock into a reasonably priced 3D printing equipment with a reasonable built rate.
“From the viewpoint of final material properties, nothing is more important than a homogeneous, reproducible material feedstock as a starting material”, according to Dr. Robert Pompe, CEO of GC Advanced Material Solutions Ltd., HK, a company involved in the development and commercialization of MEX-based AM technologies, for all kinds of powder materials. “This is particularly true for technical ceramics with properties sensitive to structural defects”.
“We are pleased with these initial results” stated Mahor Muñiz Cadenas, director of IAMTech. He also mentioned that they have been only working in the metal and plastic sector, adding: “Given these promising results we now would like to know and focus on real applications in the ceramic sector as our next target”.