XJet Releases New Metal and Ceramic 3D Printers
Michael Molitch-Hou posted on November 11, 2017 | 733 views

After showcasing its NanoParticle Jetting (NPJ) live at RAPID 2016, XJet is now unveiling the technology as part of the firm’s first product line, which will be on display at formnext in Frankfurt, Germany.

A metal 3D-printed part made by NPJ. NPJ is capable of producing interlocking, moving parts such as this in one print job. (Image courtesy of XJet.)
A metal 3D-printed part made by NPJ. NPJ is capable of producing interlocking, moving parts such as this in one print job. (Image courtesy of XJet.)

NPJ works by deposits of nanoparticle metal or ceramic ink from piezoelectric printheads onto a substrate. The heated build chamber causes the liquid agent to evaporate, leaving the metal or ceramic particles to bind together. Once complete, the print is placed into an oven for further sintering into a fully dense metal part.

The Carmel 1400 system. (Image courtesy of XJet.)
The Carmel 1400 system. (Image courtesy of XJet.)

This technology is now integrated into the Carmel AM System product line, made up of the Carmel 1400 and 700 AM systems. The difference is in the size, with the 1400 featuring a 1,400-square-cm build tray and the 700 a 700-square-cm build tray.

A 3D-printed ceramic part housing a metal component. (Image courtesy of XJet.)
A 3D-printed ceramic part housing a metal component. (Image courtesy of XJet.)

Both systems are capable of 3D printing metal and ceramics, but with only one material at a time, and the printer must be preconfigured to perform either or both types of fabrication.CEO Hanan Gothait believes that it will be possible to, in the future, print multiple materials at once.

NPJ offers a number of unique benefits. In addition to being able to print both ceramics and metal in a single system, a possibility only recently being developed in the marketplace, NPJ also prints with layer thicknesses of just 1 micron, which may be the finest resolution in the industry.

Additionally, it does this with a specialty support material that is burned out during the sintering process, opening metal 3D printing up to even more complex geometries than traditionally possible. And because the material is contained in specialty cartridges and no gas chamber is required, there’s no need to deal with the safety issues associated with laser powder bed or directed energy systems.

The company has already seen its first commercial Carmel 1400 system installed at citim, a 3D printing service bureau that is the subsidiary of Oerlikon Group. “The cooperation with XJet is an exciting opportunity for us to expand our AM offering beyond metals and into ceramics,” said Andreas Berkau, head of AM Service Europe, Oerlikon Business Unit AM. “With over 20 years in the industry, citim has established itself as a leading international supplier of AM parts that meets evolving industry needs and remains at the forefront of AM technology. This collaboration enables us to stay ahead of technology developments and maintain our technology leadership.”

Oerlikon’s AM production facility in Barleben, Germany, is now in the process of field testing the technology. The system is currently configured for ceramic parts, but it could be used for metal parts in the future.


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