There are plenty of 3D printing trade shows out there, and we’ve attended many of them, but we’ve also noticed that there are fewer and fewer trade shows of any kind that don’t have at least a minor 3D printing presence. The technology is beginning to show up in a big way at jewelry expos, for example, as the jewelry industry increasingly turns toward 3D printing as a means for design and fabrication. It’s also becoming more visible in the ceramics industry.
When most people think of ceramics, their minds go instantly to beautiful pottery and artistic sculpture. As an industry, though, ceramics is much bigger than art. The ceramics manufacturing industry is a multibillion-dollar one, and the material can be found in aerospace, medicine, automotive manufacturing, energy, and a lot more. At next week’s Ceramics Expo, more than 3,000 attendees will visit over 300 exhibitors, at least one of which will be representing the 3D printing industry.
While ceramics is a relatively new material in 3D printing, it’s caught on in a big way over the last couple of years. Most ceramics 3D printers are extrusion-based, but XJet recently announced the development of a brand new inkjet method of 3D printing ceramics. Based on the company’s NanoParticle Jetting metal 3D printing technology, the technique involves a liquid dispersion, encased in a cartridge, containing ceramic nanoparticles.
Once the cartridge is loaded into the 3D printer, the system sprays the liquid onto the build platform, where high temperatures cause it to evaporate, leaving only thin layers of ceramic material. XJet describes the advantages of the technology as “three dimensions of innovation:”
- Stochastic nanoparticles: the size and shape of the particles are randomly distributed to allow them to pack together in a natural way
- Support: the system creates soluble, easy-to-remove support material
- Single-step sintering: the non-UV materials allow for simple, easy sintering
XJet will present the technology to the US market at the Ceramics Expo, which is taking place in Cleveland from April 25 to 27. The company will display sample parts and discuss the system at their booth, and CBO Dror Danai will participate in a panel on ceramic additive manufacturing challenges on April 26 at 12:45 PM.
“After many years of research and development, we are excited to have reached this important milestone of producing ceramic parts using our NanoParticle JettingTM technology,” said Hanan Gothait, CEO and Founder of XJet. “NPJ is a truly disruptive technology as it offers a totally new level of ceramic and metal 3D printing.”
The Ceramics Expo, which is the largest trade show in the US for the technical ceramics industry, will be held at Cleveland’s I-X Center. Registration is free of charge. If you’re attending, you can visit XJet and learn more about their NanoParticle Jetting technology at Booth 1001. Discuss in the XJet forum at 3DPB.com.