Efficient process / Order management / Our strengths
Our lean and efficient process with direct contact from one of our production consultants enables us to complete your orders swiftly and react individually and flexibly to any changes required. Your contact will remain the same throughout the process, to provide assistance from the initial stages of production through to the point of delivery.
Single item production
Additive manufacturing enables the production of individual ceramic parts without tooling costs. The result is a cost-effective process with faster production turnaround times.
Prototyping in large-scale production quality
Previous additive manufacturing methods were useful for prototyping only to a certain extent. The quality of the parts was clearly inferior to series production quality, which hampered the testing of prototypes.
Thanks to our LCM process (Lithography-based Ceramic Manufacturing), we can deliver prototypes that meet large-scale production quality standards.
Cost-efficient small production runs
High tooling costs make small production runs disproportionately expensive and uneconomical for the manufacturer. Our LCM process eliminates tooling costs, which enables us to offer our customers small production runs.
We relish solving technical challenges – even in small series!
Complex geometries are no obstacle
When designing the components, the engineer must ensure that the components can actually be produced. All too often, this leads to modifications and compromises in the geometry. Thanks to our additive LCM production method, the engineer can match the design to the application rather than the production process. This ultimately ensures a much more effective component.
Additive manufacturing based on LCM technology
LCM – Lithography-based Ceramic Manufacturing is the revolutionary process used for the production of ceramic materials. The precursor is a slurry consisting of a ceramic powder and a UV-light sensitive monomer. UV exposure leads to polymerisation turning the liquid slurry into a solid. During debinding process, the polymer is removed from the green body and subsequently sintered. The result is a fluid-tight component with a smooth surface.
The UV light is applied as a “slice” of the current layer, or the sectional view of the CAD model. The whole surface is evenly illuminated rather than scanned in the conventional way by the UV beam. This makes it possible to produce several components (even of different geometries) in the same space and the same production step.
The primary advantage over conventional “3D printing” such as laser sintering is superior accuracy.
Debinding / sintering
Once the green body has been formed, the ceramic particles are bonded by the polymer. The thermal processes of debinding and sintering remove the polymer and consolidate the ceramic particles. During the debinding the polymer decomposes and outgases. Before sintering the ceramic particles are bonded merely through mechanical interconnection of the particles. Solid state sintering starts from around 1000°C – 1100°C and is completed at 1600°C.
Aluminium oxide Al2O3
Al2O3, more commonly known as alumina, is the most widely used and well researched ceramic material, attributable to its ready, worldwide availability, easy processing and low cost. Aluminium oxide is exceptionally tough and can meet most mechanical and chemical requirements.
It is preferred particularly for its high-temperature stability and extraordinary hardness, surpassed only by few materials (e.g. diamonds, SiC).
In gem-quality form it is known as the precious stones ruby and sapphire, in which the final colour appearance is produced by diffusing a low concentration of chromium and titanium into the stones.
Zirconium oxide (zirconia) ZrO2
ZrO2 has the highest mechanical strength, with properties similar to steel (Young’s modulus, coefficient of thermal expansion), as well as very low thermal conductivity. Thanks to its excellent tribological properties, it has attracted particular attention in technology (sliding components) and in medical applications (artificial hip joints). The final properties of ZrO2 are determined by variable additions of dopants such as Y2O3, thereby widening the areas of application significantly compared to other ceramics.
ZrO2 is in a development stage. Only research jobs can be currently accepted.
TCP is a biocompatible, resorbable material used in medicine to restore bone loss. It is progressively degraded diffusing nutrients that are resorbed by the surrounding tissue, and gradually replaced by new bone. Once fully degraded, the TCP implant is completely replaced by natural bone.
In order to degrade TCP and build up a new bone tissue the structure of TCM must mimic natural bone tissue. Since bone structure exhibits high interconnectivity, additive production is the only relevant production method here.
Our service portfolio includes comprehensive customer advice with customised solutions. We will be glad to advise you on the best ceramic material for your application.
Our technical ceramics are produced in-house in an additive process that widens the options for us to tailor geometries to specific applications. We will be happy to develop an optimised CAD model for you or create a computer simulation of the required components.