LCM Ceramic 3D Printing: Industrial Standard or Prototyping Technology?
HOMA J. 1, SCHWENTENWEIN M. 1
1 Lithoz GmbH, Vienna, Austria
INVITED TALK (KEYNOTE offered by the ECERS organizers)
With their ability to produce functional parts directly from CAD data, additive manufacturing (AM) technologies have an enormous potential for industry. The ultimate advantage of AM over traditional manufacturing methods is the freedom of design. It is possible to introduce new features in the design of parts without the limitations of conventional forming techniques.
These kinds of technologies have already been established in plastics processing and metalworking over the last decade, and their use for fabricating ceramic materials is already pushing strongly into the ceramic industry.
This presentation will provide an insight of what needs to be taken into consideration to bring it into the market and will give an insight about already existing products in different industries. It shows the difficulties and hurdles to introduce an upcoming technology but also the opportunities.
Industry reports are already forecasting that the market for ceramic 3D printing will grow multiple times over the next few years and the implementation of ceramic AM will move fast forward. However, ceramic parts used in demanding applications must have properties, which meet the high standard of the ceramic industry. Lithographic AM is the most widespread technology for high-performance ceramics, due to the high precision and good materials properties, which are achieved through the high green density because of the use of highly filled slurries and through the two-stage process (shaping and sintering are separated).
This contribution will present exemplary use cases where AM was able to combine these material properties with the profit-oriented requirements of scaled-up industrial mass production. These use cases, including a successful manufacturer whose annual output now reaches 2 million parts, will show how companies have already integrated 3D printing into their workflow and have entered into serial production. An assessment of the potential of ceramic 3D printing will demonstrate how far serial production in ceramic additive manufacturing has already come, while also giving an outlook into the future. Thus, this paper will also highlight key factors in successfully implementing ceramic AM into the industrial need and give a better understanding of the real potential of ceramic 3D printing systems and know the status of LCM technology employment in industrial mass production. It will be demonstrated that that companies can take considerable advantage of this production technique today simply by following some basic rules. The new design freedom and quality of the 3D-printed ceramic parts make them perfect for demanding and innovative applications where conventional manufacturing techniques, such as milling, simply reach their limits.