Forward-thinking companies use ceramics for components like nozzles and thrusters, electrical insulators, and turbine blades.

Fremont, CA: According to a manufacturing technology advisory firm, aerospace is the second largest industry area covered by additive manufacturing (AM), behind medical. However, there's still a shortage of understanding about the potential of additive manufacturing using ceramic materials to produce aerospace components quickly, with enhanced productivity and cost-effectiveness. AM allows for the quicker and more sustainable manufacture of lighter and stronger ceramic parts, lowering labor costs, decreasing manual assembly, and reducing aircraft weight through modeling-developed designs that increase efficiency and performance. Furthermore, AM ceramic technology allows for dimension control in completed products with features smaller than 100m.

On the other hand, the phrase ceramic may conjure up an inaccurate image of brittleness. Instead, AM ceramics produce lighter, more detailed components with enormous structural strength, hardness, and temperature resistance. Forward-thinking companies use ceramics for components like nozzles and thrusters, electrical insulators, and turbine blades.

Various Advantages of AM ceramics

• Ceramic injection molding or machining is notoriously difficult, as machining allows very limited access inside a component being made. Thin walls, for example, are also difficult to manufacture.

• However, Lithography-based Ceramic Manufacturing (LCM) at Lithoz enables the production of accurate, complex-shaped 3D ceramic components.

• Detail specifications get digitally sent to the 3D printer from a CAD model. A clear vat is then get covered with a precisely prepared ceramic-laced powder. The mobile construction platform gets immersed in the slurry before being selectively exposed to visible light from below. A digital micromirror device (DMD) in conjunction with a projection system generates the layer image. A three-dimensional green portion may be produced layer by layer by repeating this technique. The binder gets removed after thermal post-processing. The green portions get sintered – coalescing by a unique heating process – resulting in totally dense ceramic components with excellent mechanical qualities and surface quality.

• LCM technology enables a new, cost-effective, and faster procedure for investment casting of turbine engine components, avoiding the costly and time-consuming mold creation necessary in injection molding and lost-wax casting.

• LCM can also produce patterns that cannot be produced in any other manner while utilizing significantly less raw material than previous processes.

• Ceramic 3D printers from Lithoz provide great precision and repeatability in ceramic fabrication from research to production levels.