Italian Printing Leader Durst Group has spun-off Ceramic Inkjet 3D Printing.


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Inkjet Technologies Revolutionizing Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing (AM) has come a long way in the past few decades, with the evolution of inkjet technologies playing a pivotal role in its growth. Recently, the market has witnessed an influx of new inkjet methodologies and the expiration of patents, leading to rapid advancements in the field. One notable addition to the industry is the Durst Group’s spin-off company, D3-AM, which has introduced a groundbreaking 3D printer catering to ceramic and other material printing.

D3-AM’s latest offering, the LABII system, utilizes a unique process called Micro-Particle Jetting (MPJ). This technology enables the 3D printing of highly concentrated water-based suspensions with a wide range of particle sizes and distributions. The company’s primary focus lies in technical ceramics, including coarse-grained silicon carbide and fine-grained zirconia. Once the printing is completed, the parts are further processed through a sintering furnace to achieve dense and durable ceramic components.

Stefan Waldner, the Product Director of D3-AM GmbH, expressed his enthusiasm for the technology, stating, “The previous material limitations of traditional inkjet printheads were a significant roadblock to market breakthrough. By eradicating material compatibility restrictions, we are enabling the production of components previously considered impossible. Our technology has the potential to transform manufacturing processes of the future, from aerospace to energy transition.”

Technical ceramics have gained popularity due to their exceptional resistance to heat, chemicals, and wear. These properties make them highly sought-after in applications where traditional materials fall short. D3-AM’s LABII system presents an ideal solution for manufacturing intricate ceramic components that were previously challenging to produce. With the elimination of limitations associated with other ceramic 3D printing processes, particularly vat photopolymerization-based techniques, complex designs featuring overhangs, hollow bodies, and varying wall thicknesses can now be easily manufactured.

D3-AM draws its technological expertise from the Durst Group, a renowned global leader in digital printing and production technology. With a rich history dating back to 1936, the Durst Group has continuously innovated printing technologies, successfully transitioning from traditional photographic equipment to super-wide format inkjet printers and UV polymerization ink technology. With 880 employees, 20 branches, and 150 sales and service partners worldwide, Durst remains at the forefront of the industry.

The LAB II machine by D3-AM is set to be officially unveiled at Formnext 2023. However, D3-AM will face stiff competition, with industry leader Stratasys and several other companies vying for supremacy in the inkjet 3D printing market. Mimaki seeks to challenge for the top spot in photopolymer inkjet technology, while Quantica and Inkbit have developed versions of the process that accommodate a broader range of materials than their counterparts. Notably, XJet, the manufacturer of nano particle jetting (NPJ) technology, will be closely monitoring D3-AM’s progress. Although XJet has faced challenges in scaling its technology as initially anticipated, it remains the sole producer of ceramic inkjetting machines and has also made significant strides in metal jetting. Thus, XJet currently holds a substantial lead over D3-AM. However, both companies have their eyes on HP, which has previously showcased ceramics 3D printing through its Multi Jet Fusion technology.

For the latest news and updates in the 3D printing industry, as well as information and offers from third-party vendors, stay tuned and stay connected.

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