3D Printing

3D ceramic printing in industry

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3D printing industry

Since arriving on the additive manufacturing market in 2018, Nanoe has been striving to democratize the use of 3D printing for ceramics and metals through an accessible and easy-to-implement process. As its threads have made their way into laboratories and research centers in France and abroad, they are gaining more and more ground among manufacturers betting on integrating additive manufacturing internally. The French manufacturer’s ceramic materials already offer many interesting thermal, chemical and mechanical properties for challenging activities such as orbital welding, boiler parts production or turned parts manufacturing. Thanks to Zetamix threads, many international manufacturers are able to increase agility by reducing production times and machine downtime, but also by reducing costs.

Among the users of Zetamix ceramic additive manufacturing solutions, we can mention 3 manufacturers: MGB, SAPCO and Orbital Service. While 3D technologies now offer them many advantages, all three have been tempted by the thermal capabilities of ceramic filaments, whether zirconia or alumina. These three manufacturers faced very specific problems that were difficult to solve by subtractive manufacturing, or at least at much higher costs and time.

More and more manufacturers are incorporating additive manufacturing (Image credits: SAPCO)

Alumina, a high temperature resistant 3D printing material

MGB is a French company founded in 1956, specializing in the manufacture of turned parts for the connector industry. It primarily works with actors in the medical, aerospace or electronic sectors, and actors who need specially designed screws. These have different levels of stiffness, and the lower part of the screw is usually less strong than the upper part. To produce this type of custom screw, MGB has developed a specific machine that allows the upper part to be annealed by induction to provide all the necessary rigidity.

In this device MGB has incorporated a 3D printed part of alumina. It is a specially designed bracket that is perforated at the end of which the French manufacturer puts the screw in question. It is then heated while the heat detector monitors the temperature. It was therefore necessary to imagine a guide that could withstand this temperature, perfectly matching the shape of the screw in question and supporting the presence of the electrode. A challenge that would not have been met so quickly without the integration of additive manufacturing. MGB claims that the process of designing and manufacturing a new screw mount takes less than a week. Unimaginable delay if manufacturer goes through subtractive manufacturing or service provider.

3D printed screw support (Image credits: Nanoe)

Optimization of orbital welding processes with Zetamix filaments

Orbital Service is a German company specializing in orbital welding which has also relied on the Zetamix solution to produce custom parts. As part of its activity, TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding processes pose many challenges, particularly to avoid oxidation and air pollution. In order to remedy this, the company must create an electric arc and spray an inert protective gas around the area to be welded. However, in the context of orbital welding, the tubes to be welded are too bulky and nozzles for TIG welding are not suitable. This then promotes oxidation and post-treatment of the parts. The frame rate slows down significantly and the operation is unreliable.

This is where additive manufacturing can come into play. Orbital Service relied on FFF technology and Zetamix filaments – particularly alumina, to custom-design TIG nozzles. These now have a concave shape, more suitable for the size of the tubes to be welded. Thus welding defects are reduced as well as the necessary inert gas consumption is reduced. The German industrialist preferred alumina for its resistance to temperature and claims that the entire design and manufacturing process takes only a week.

Thanks to additive manufacturing, Orbital Service can design more convenient concave nozzles (Image credits: Nanoe)

Choosing a Zetamix solution to reduce maintenance times

The SABCO manufacturer manufactures ceramic ignition and ionization electrodes embedded in industrial boilers and burners. To do this, the company has developed automated production processes using custom-made machines, especially in connection with the assembly stage. However, this remains complicated: during electrode welding, two metal strips are placed around the workpiece, the strips are fixed via plastic welding pins. However, they get damaged very quickly due to overheating, which causes the machine in question to stop, at least once a day. This downtime affects the entire production process of SAPCO, forcing it to imagine another way to produce these nails.

Ceramic injection was first considered by the company but soon proved impractical, expensive and difficult to implement. So SABCO switched to additive manufacturing and bet on ceramic rather than polymer. She chose zirconia, which is able to withstand temperatures up to 800 degrees Celsius. The Zetamix solution was perfect because it was easy to deploy and use. Within 5 days, the teams were able to imagine and produce improved solder pins. It should be changed once a month, which greatly reduces machine maintenance and downtime.

3D printing industry

Welding pins are 3D printed with zirconia (Image credits: Nanoe)

In response to internal tooling issues

When it comes to in-house tool production, manufacturers can therefore rely on 3D printing of FFF ceramics to gain agility and increase their productivity. The choice of ceramic allows sectors such as aerospace, automotive, foundry or jewelry to withstand extremely high temperatures and other chemical and mechanical stresses.

Finally, the choice of solutions offered by Nanoe will allow the user to publish an inexpensive offer compared to other ceramic printing processes. In addition to the price, it is also a question of ease of use. The FFF process remains easy to learn and integrate into production lines. This is especially true when it comes to in-house tools: choosing a Zetamix solution would be more appropriate than other processes such as photopolymerization that would be more preferable for the fabrication of very precise parts, for example in the biomedical sector. You can go to the French manufacturer’s website to learn more about their line of threads.

What do you think about incorporating 3D printing of ceramics into the industry? Share your opinion in the comments of the article or with members Citizens Forum. Find all our videos on our channel Youtube or follow us FB where Twitter !



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