French 3D printing company 3DCeram has renewed its partnership with the Science of Ceramic Processes and Surface Treatments (SPCTS). The SPCTS is a research unit with over 100 staff and housed at the University of Limoges, central France.
Since commencement of the agreement in 2010, the 7-year long partnership has now been extended for a further three years. The collaboration will continue development of the ceramic 3D printing process at 3DCeram. The work leverages the SPCTS’ expertise on ceramics in order to apply it to 3D printing processes.
The ability to 3D print ceramics has applications in a number of fields for the material’s unique characteristics. Ceramic has particularly appealing qualities with high heat resistance and significant strength. The material is used heavily in the dental industry and could be used in biomedicine for its likeness to bone.
The 3DCeram process for 3D ceramics
3DCeram uses a laser stereolithography process to create their 3D printed ceramics. Once lifted from the resin, 3DCeram cure the objects with heat in order to produce a strong, dense part. This partnership extension will enable 3DCeram to advance their understanding of the material in order to develop the 3D printing application.
Richard Gaignon, co-director of 3DCeram, said,
Renewing this partnership shows the willingness of 3DCeram to expand our range with extensive, hybrid solutions and on-demand services across our three activity sectors: industry, luxury goods and biomedicine. The ongoing trust shown by SPCTS allows us to strengthen our position as a world leader in manufacturing machines and components using 3D ceramic printing.
There are a number of other companies exploring 3D printed ceramics. Israeli 3D printing company, Nano Dimension has recently been funded to develop a ceramic 3D printing process by the country’s Ministry of Defense.
Californian based HRL Laboratories is developing a 3D printing ceramic process that can withstand extremely high temperatures. The technique used by HRL is also similar to stereolithography.
3DCeram don’t currently cite dentistry as one of the three main applications of their technology, however companies like Roland DG are exploring ceramic 3D printing. Roland DG, through their newly formed subsidiary DGSHAPE, has just released a new dental 3D printer. The machine is intended to create models and dentures. The company demonstrated a prototype of their ceramic 3D printer at Formnext last year.
Featured image shows a 3D printed ceramic art piece by Richard Beckett and Martin Watmough – DMC London. Photo via Richard Beckett.