Israeli ceramic 3D printing company XJet is bringing its innovative NanoParticle Jetting Technology (NPJ) to yet another customer: KU Leuven University in Belgium. The installation of the Carmel 1400 3D printer at the university marks the first time XJet’s technology has been adopted by a European academic institution. Fittingly, KU Leuven is one of Europe’s pioneering academic players in ceramics and AM.
At KU Leuven, XJet’s Carmel system will be used by researchers to develop ceramic medical models as well as to further explore additive manufacturing in a research capacity. Heading much of the work done with the NPJ system will be Professor Shoufeng Yang, who leads the university’s AM research.
“Since the Carmel was installed, we are already reaping the benefits,” Professor Yang said. “The XJet system offers the high levels of precision and exceptional detailing required, levels which were previously impossible or extremely time-consuming in post-processing. The use of soluble support materials, with no harmful powders, makes it a much easier process and opens up opportunities to innovate that simply did not exist before.”
Under Professor Yang’s leadership, KU Leuven has placed an important focus on additive manufacturing applications in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. A key topic within this focus has been the additive production of ceramic bone implants. Having XJet’s Carmel 1400 3D printer in house will enable it to push its research in this area ahead.
XJet’s NanoParticle Jetting Technology is somewhat unique within the AM sector. Built for technical ceramics or metal materials, the NPJ process consists of simultaneously jetting layers of a liquid build material and a soluble support material. Once a part (or series of parts) have been built up, the support material can easily be removed using a special solution. The parts are then finalized using a simple sintering process, which results in dense and highly accurate ceramic or metal components.
“Institutions like KU Leuven University are essential to the ongoing growth of AM and specifically medical AM, allowing for breakthrough research developments as we have seen with previous examples,” said Avi Cohen, VP of Healthcare and Education at XJet. “KU Leuven is the latest addition to our growing install base in Europe.”