Xaar to Manufacture Quantica’s Printheads for High-viscosity Inkjet 3D Printing

Metal AM Markets

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While the 3D printing division of Xaar was acquired by Stratasys for its take on high speed sintering technology, the British inkjet printhead manufacturer is still in the additive manufacturing (AM) business. Now, it has partnered with a promising German startup, Quantica, as the exclusive commercial manufacturer of its ultra-high viscosity inkjet printheads.

Quantica is one of the more exciting new companies in the industry, with its NovoJet printheads that overcomes issues related to traditional inkjetting technology. This enables the printing of resins 15 times more viscous than other systems in the industry, like those from Mimaki and Stratasys. This allows a much broader range of materials including not only full-color objects with varying stiffness/flexibility properties but with materials that are actually functional for uses beyond prototyping.

A non-functioning prototype of the NovoJet printhead.

After initially launching a lab system, Quantica released its NovoJet C-7 desktop 3D printer. It then closed a Series A round of financing that saw the startup boosted by €14M in investment. Now, Xaar will be manufacturing Quantica’s NovoJet printheads at scale in its Huntingdon, to be installed in the firm’s first 3D printers as they ship at the end of 2023.

Ramon Borrell, CTO for Quantica, added; “Our mission is to give customers the full freedom of production, and this partnership is instrumental in helping us achieve this. Xaar is widely recognised for the quality of its printheads, and this agreement enables us to focus on delivering the roadmap of innovative NovoJet 3D printers for high performance multi-material parts with full confidence the printheads will deliver for our customers and partners.”

Additionally, Xaar will be able to commercially access the startup’s IP. While Xaar’s ImagineX portfolio allows for dispensing of materials up to 100cP, NovoJet enables jetting up to 400cP. According to the partners, this means that they “will now offer the widest capability in printing high-performance materials to its OEM customers.”

3D printed dentures made in a single process with multiple materials using Quantica’s printhead. Image courtesy of Quantica.

Graham Tweedale, Xaar’s COO, said; “Our partnership with Quantica is a win- win for both our businesses. The combination of our existing ImagineX technologies with the capability offered by Quantica’s IP will ensure Xaar offers the widest range of solutions in jetting highly viscous materials. Similarly, Quantica will now be able to focus on the launch of its NovoJet 3D printers, with the backing of our expertise in manufacturing truly robust and reliable printheads.”

At the moment, those in the AM industry are well aware that the fate of the sector’s current inkjet leader, Stratasys, is somewhat uncertain. As things shake out for the company, there will be a need for a strong competitor to emerge in the inkjet space and beyond. While Mimaki has an impressive system and 3D Systems has its own inkjet technology, we’ve yet to see anything like that of Quantica that can go well beyond what is currently offered. The only other contender is Inkbit, which can also dispense more viscous materials. Those startups may need to look over their shoulders to make sure they aren’t being eyed by some larger corporate entity aiming to disrupt Stratasys’s lead in the space.

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