In a host of updates, Lithoz, an Austrian company specializing in ceramic 3D printing, recently presented its new 3D printer, the CeraFab System S65, at Ceramics UK, an event dedicated to the technical ceramics industry , which took place from 10th-11th July 2019. Lithoz has also revealed that 3rdAxis, a firm focusing on dental additive manufacturing based in Australia, is the first to purchase the CeraFab S65, as well as its CeraFab 7500 Dental system. In total, Lithoz is reported to have had 70 of its ceramic 3D printers installed worldwide.
Finally, the company’s ceramic 3D printing technology was also used in a comparative study between 3D printed and milled zirconia by the University of Pennsylvania Dental Medicine (Penn Dental Medicine), where it produced positive results. The aim of the study was to determine the potential of 3D printed ceramics for medical and dental applications.
The new CeraFab System S65 Ceramic 3D printer
The CeraFab S65 is Lithoz’s latest release in its series of industrial 3D printers for the serial production of ceramics. Utilizing a modular design, the new 3D printer is geared towards providing a higher building speed for increased productivity, better precision and improved reliability compared to its previous 3D printers, like the CeraFab 7500 and 8500. Whereas the other two systems can produce up to 100 layers per hour, the S65 is able to achieve a build speed of 150 layers per hour.
It uses a cascade system that allows for the integration of 4 production units per electronic unit, which helps to provide excellent output productivity and speed while minimizing the risk of production loss. Furthermore, the CeraFab S65 also features a server-based central database for storing and processing data, allowing users to document print jobs with online, real-time monitoring.
The improved precision in printed parts is facilitated by an integrated WQXGA projector, featuring a resolution of 2560×1600 pixels. It enables the 3D printing of components with accurate results on a micro-level, according to Lithoz. Furthermore, each unit features a separate cooling system to prevent heat buildup, as well as protecting components from dust contamination.
3D printed zirconium proves promising for dental
Researchers at Penn Dental Medicine also utilized Lithoz’s 3D printing technology to compare the flexural strength of 3D printed zirconia with traditional manufacturing methods, in order to determine its advantages in dental and medical applications.
The research team at the university used a Lithoz 3D printer alongside the company’s zirconium material, LithaCon 3Y 230, which is geared towards medical use due to its biocompatibility. The results of the study showed that the mechanical properties of milled and 3D printed zirconia are comparable, without significant difference.
However, it concludes that 3D printing emerges as a “promising method for the manufacturing of zirconia for dental applications” as it is able to match the standard enabled by traditional manufacturing methods. Furthermore, 3D printing maintains a clinical advantage in that it allows for the fabrication of extremely complex geometric shapes. This can enable 3D printing to overcome the limitations of milled zirconia, with the potential to expand its applications in medicine and dentistry.
Lithoz helping to ADAPT 3D printing
In March 2019, Lithoz joined the Alliance for the Development of Additive Processing Technologies (ADAPT), an industry-academia consortium dedicated to solving challenges in additive manufacturing. Through the partnership, Lithoz also installed its CeraFab 7500 ceramic 3D printer at the Colorado School of Mines, where the ADAPT consortium is headquartered.
Lithoz’s 3D printer installed at the Mines’ ADAPT lab was recently used by Adam Savage, the American special effects designer and former co-host of popular Discovery Channel Show MythBusters. Savage utilized Lithoz’s ceramic 3D printer to help 3D print an operational Iron Man suit.
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Featured image shows the Lithoz CeraFab System S65. Image via Lithoz.