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From semiconductors to machinery, the CeraFab 3D printers and premium materials enable the profit-driven industrial volume production of ceramic 3D-printed parts, for even the most demanding industrial applications.

Our Recommendation

CeraFab S65

LithaLox

Alumina

LithaCon

Zirconia

LithaLox

Alumina

LithaCon

Zirconia

Traditional processes, such as die casting or milling, reach their limits when it comes to complex structures or extreme applications. It is in these situations that LCM 3D printing opens up entirely new technological solutions.

"At Bosch Advanced Ceramics, we have already successfully scaled up to the additive series production of ceramic components and are continuously expanding our machine park. Thanks to its reliable precision, the LCM process from Lithoz was the decisive technological basis for implementing various series projects."

Nikolai Sauer / CTO / Bosch Advanced Ceramics 

Applications

15" LCM-Printed Semiconductor ALD Ring

This 15“ diameter alumina gas distribution ring was manufactured by Alumina Systems using Lithoz LCM technology. Alumina is used to ensure a constant gas flow and pressure even when using reactive gases. Capitalizing on the design freedom of Lithoz LCM technology, the part manufactured performed more effectively than conventionally produced rings thanks to a more complex design, allowing for an exceptionally lightweight and thinwalled structure. Material usage was reduced in key areas and the part could be manufactured onsite, making digital warehouses a reality and saving on storage costs.

The Ceramic 3D Factory

With clear growing demand for ceramic 3D printing at an industrial scale across industries, the success of Lithoz’s partners and technology in serial production is becoming ever more visible. Lithoz will showcase the arrival of “The Ceramic 3D Factory”, uniting Lithoz technology and service bureaus all over the world in one global network for interconnected serial production across fields such as semiconductor production, aerospace and more. This global “Ceramic 3D Factory” network is strengthened by the new CeraControl software, which allows for up to 100 globally interconnected CeraFab S65 3D printers.

An impressive showcase of exactly 308 aerospike nozzles with identical designs at varying sizes demonstrates the industrial power of LCM technology. With 100 Lithoz CeraFab System S65 printers connected, the smallest parts shown could be manufactured with exact reproducibility at a printing speed of 3:46 minutes per part, resulting in an annual total volume of almost 14 million parts.

Spiral mixer

Propellers are often used for the mixing of low-viscosity fluids, many of which are highly corrosive. Thanks to the corrosive resistance of ceramics even against the most aggressive chemicals, this 3D-printed ceramic propeller has a far longer lifetime compared to traditional materials, reducing downtime and increasing efficiency. The complex shape and fine spaces between the blades of the part, printed by Bosch Advanced Ceramics, also make it perfectly suited to production via Lithoz LCM 3D printing technology, which can achieve far more intricate geometries than traditional methods.

Mixing Nozzle

LithaLox 360 is specially optimized for designing high-resolution features thanks to a modified binder formulation and a purity level of 99.8%. With this aluminum oxide, even the thinnest channels, narrowest lattice structures and finest holes in miniaturized components can be achieved. For example, tubes of less than 200μm diameter and bridges below 100μm can be produced. Alumina components are electrically insulating and puncture resistant, therefore making them suitable for a wide range of applications, such as in the semiconductor industry or nozzles for medical applications.

This 3D-printed mixing nozzle, printed by Bosch Advanced Ceramics, is used in rotors for mini-pumps. As a part being used in chemical applications, the corrosive resistance of alumina as a ceramic material makes it the top material for the job. The complex guiding blades and small holes were also easily achieved using the geometrical freedom of 3D printing, with the diameter of the holes being just 0.2 mm allowing for an increased number of holes and therefore improving mixing performance.

Dosing Needle

When it comes to highly automated bonding procedures, metal dosing needles have typically been used so far. These designs are well-suited to the exact dosing of highly viscose adhesives. In this application, the key factors are excellent durability and wear resistance - as downtimes of production lines result in enormous costs, parts need to last as long as possible without replacement. The lifetime of these parts can be greatly extended using ceramic dosing needles compared to metal, as with this 3D-printed alumina needle by Bosch Advanced Ceramics.

To accurately and continuously deliver the adhesive, it must be able to flow through the bore with little friction. The minimal surface roughness achieved using Lithoz LCM 3D printing therefore significantly improves efficiency. Due to its conical geometry, no subsequent processing of the surface can take place; the manufacturing process must already achieve the highest possible accuracy upon printing. Hitting this high level of accuracy is simple and guaranteed using technical ceramic 3D printing.

Silicon nitride cutting tool

The additive manufacturing of cutting materials enables the development of more efficient cutting tools. Ceramics are an excellent alternative to carbide cutting materials, especially for high-speed turning. In their application, the insert is inserted into a clamping turning holder and fixed in place by holding down with a finger and tightening the screw.

Compared to conventionally manufactured parts for this application, the component optimized for LCM printing achieved a significant material saving thanks to a reduced wall thickness of < 4.4mm, offering a significant savings potential in series production.

The project was developed within the framework of AddiZwerk (Additive Manufacturing of Cutting Tools), financed by M-ERA.NET and FFG. Design by PTW (Institute for Production Management, Technology and Machine Tools) at TU Darmstadt.

Read the full paper here.

Horizontal bearing for high-precision automation

This horizontal bearing, produced by US-based AM ceramics specialist CeramcoAdditive for a customer from the textile industry, was manufactured using the alumina material LithaLox HP 500 via a Lithoz CeraFab System S65 industrial printer. The pillow block-type bearing would be used as a rod holder for any linear motion, with the highest possible precision and low friction being the critical properties for the required machine automation application. The intricate helical internal veins in the inside diameter of the part would not be achievable with a ceramic material by any other method than additive manufacturing.

LithaLox HP 500 exhibits excellent 4-point bonding strength and exceptional surface finish. This special purpose alumina material was specifically developed for extremely friction-sensitive applications such as thread guides in textile technology, high-performance substrates for the electrical industry or protective materials in thermal processes.

444 needles printed on a single platform

These needles were printed with LithaLox 360 and are excellent proof of just how precisely and efficiently Lithoz LCM technology is able to work. The clear objective of the project realized together with Bosch Advanced Ceramics was to maximise the loading of the CeraFab S65 platform filled with identical complex parts with fine structures.

Thanks to pinpoint precise dosage of the ceramic slurry and the use of the highest optical precision on the market, the CeraFab System printers could realize ultra-precise exposure at any point of the print platform, making it possible to build up extremely delicate parts and intricate inner structures without any mechanical pressure on the Z-axis. As a result, the proven stability of the system secures linear scalability to industrial mass production.

Heat exchanger with integrated mixer

This functional part was designed and 3D printed by Steinbach AG from the flexible alumina material LithaLox 360. It was part of a joint development project to optimize the cleaning of the highly complex structures that can be achieved with this newly developed alumina slurry, which is able to create the thinnest channels, narrowest lattice structures and finest holes in miniaturized components.

The heat exchanger’s characteristic features are its narrowly positioned cooling fins of only 0.45 mm edge widths at a depth of 3.5 mm measured from the fin’s edges to the tube’s structure. The diameter of the inner tube forming the axis is only 2 mm, whilst the connected central struts have a thickness of a mere 0.45 mm.

Nozzle with ultra-narrow outlet

This high-pressure nozzle with ultra-narrow outlet is printed from alumina and was manufactured by Steinbach AG for a customer in the automobile industry. The original application consisted of several single metal components which consequently led to considerably higher weight and a massive 50 mm cross-section.

Steinbach AG redesigned and optimized the entire component to make use of the LCM technology’s full potential in precision and material strength. By achieving significantly more intricate inner structures, an extremely narrow outlet and much smoother surfaces in one single 3D-printed piece, the entire construction could be miniaturized by 60 %. Thanks to the excellent corrosion resistance, the alumina part showed much less wear than the previous metal component, too.

12,000 tube guide elements per year for the DaVinci Surgical Robot

This tube, produced by Steinbach AG in full-size industrial scale of 12,000 units per year, features a completely new geometry with a sharp bend and inner contours, minimal wall thicknesses of 200 μm, and perfectly smooth surfaces with roughness values of Ramax = 0.4, at the required extremely narrow tolerance of +20 μm . The total diameter of the tube was determined by the construction of the robot arm, into which the tube had to fit.

Prior to the use of ceramic additive manufacturing, 3D-printed metal was considered by the customer, but the glass fibre strings introduced tore apart because of the insufficient surface roughness of the inner guiding channels quality.

With a specific target for the manufacturing cost and a deadline of six months to begin serial production successfully met, this application impressively shows the CeraFab System S65’s talent to scale-up the production of ultra-precise parts to industrial mass production.

Read the whole article.

Silicon nitride rotor for high-efficiency microturbines

Silicon nitride turbocharger rotors are used to enhance the response of an engine. Using ceramic rotors instead of metal reduces their inertia and thus reduces deceleration. In addition, these rotors are exposed to very hot gas and so must be durable even under these extreme conditions. Until now, complicated components made of silicon nitride could not be manufactured due to the limitations of conventional machining processes. Thanks to their powerful LCM technology, Lithoz CeraFab 3D printers enable the production of complex-shaped rotors to improve the performance of microturbines.

Watch a video on thermal shock resistance testing for a 3D-printed silicon nitride component.

Nozzles for industrial chip manufacturing

Alumina Systems GmbH produces customized ceramic and metal-on-ceramic components for the semiconductor and medical industries. In addition to using conventional technologies, the company also uses LCM to accelerate product innovation. Through a function-oriented design, Alumina Systems GmbH has developed a ceramic distribution ring for semiconductor chip deposition that triples chip production volume compared to conventional solutions.

Demand for value-based applications is steadily increasing. Learn more about how 3D printing is enabling companies to develop revenue-generating, value-added products for their customers.

Lesen Sie mehr.

Highly complex miniature components with features as low as 100 µm in series production

The LCM 3D printing process for ceramics enables the production of applications with the finest of details and highly complex internal structures while maintaining excellent surface quality. Some examples are micronozzles and valves with flow-optimized paths, miniature rotors and micro milling tools, electronic applications such as complex and precise substrates and medical sensors, instruments and surgical tools.

The industrial series production of complex ceramic components with microstructures requires a technology that meets every demand for high repeatability. Where conventional methods such as milling, drilling, grinding and ceramic injection molding clearly reach their limits, CeraFab printers offer scalable series production of parts with features as low as 100 µm.

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Drucker Frontal CeraFab S65
Recommended printer

CeraFab System S65

The top LCM printer when it comes to the highest of precision and performance in series production. The world’s number one for the large-volume additive manufacturing of high-performance ceramics in industry.

Recommended Material

LithaLox

Alumina

The flexible all-rounder with tried-and-tested features. Outstanding properties such as high hardness, insulating capacity, corrosion and temperature resistance and uncomplicated handling combine to guarantee success for intensive use in industrial series production.

Recommended Material

LithaCon

Zirconia

Particularly suitable for applications that place extreme demands on the material. Valves, bearings, cutting tools and components for high-performance forming technologies are just some of the applications that benefit from the toughness of zirconia.

WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SUCCESSFUL SERIES PRODUCTION WITH LITHOZ LCM PRINTERS?
Contact us today!

Something different in mind? Discover our other 3D printers!

CeraFab Multi 2M30​
Our Materials at a Glance

Silicon nitride

Silica-based

Tricalcium phosphate

Hydroxylapatite

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Our experts will be happy to advise you on all questions relating to your industrial application.