MTC to install XJet ceramic 3D printer

The UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) is set to take delivery of a new additive manufacturing system from XJet, bringing “high demand” ceramics 3D printing in-house.

The Carmel 1400C is based on the Israeli 3D printer manufacturer’s NanoParticle Jetting technology and is capable of manufacturing complex end-use ceramic parts with fine details, high accuracy and a smooth surface finish. Dr Tom Wasley, MTC Senior Research Engineer, noted the machine’s large build volume, material density, materials cartridges and elimination of additional debinding step as key to the centre’s decision to invest, adding that scaling up for volume production would be “easily achievable” with marginal time and labour.

He said: “The surface finish that can be achieved with XJet is arguably very hard to replicate with any other kind of additive process. It also provides a means to make small, intricate and extremely detailed parts.”

The Coventry-based research centre, which is home to the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing (NCAM) and already features machines from the likes of Trumpf, Renishaw, Nano Dimension, Digital Metal, and Stratasys, views ceramics as a key focus area as evidenced in a recent white paper exploring the challenges, developments and opportunities to put the UK at the forefront of the AM ceramics industry.

“There is a high demand for parts like this in the aerospace, medical, dental and defence industries, some businesses are interested in high precision tooling, but largely they’re looking for end-use parts,” Wasley continued. “We’ve been working in ceramics for over six years, and now we’re looking forward to growing our in-house AM capability. A lot of the organisations that are interested in ceramic manufacturing are searching for a means to batch produce custom, personalised products and the volume capability of the XJet printer will help to realise this need.”

XJet CBO, Dror Danai, added: “We develop our technology so companies can easily move from one design to another, at any point in the manufacturing process, with true freedom of design and zero-cost complexity. However, it’s organisations like MTC that will push the technology to its limits and see what it can really do, make possible what was previously impossible. We’re very excited to work together and see how MTC applies the technology.”

XJet’s ceramic technology has already found itself a home with a number of customers in the healthcare market including KU Leuven University in Belgium which is using the Carmel 1400C for both research and the development of medical applications, and dental company Straumann Group which begin using the platform earlier this year for the manufacture of end-use components.

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