Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) has reported that Digital Light Processing-based technology (DLP) that has been developed in cooperation with its partners for the 3D printing of ceramic materials can also be made suitable for metals, providing a higher-quality alternative to existing 3D metal-shaping techniques. The advantage of this technology, states ECN, is that the material is constructed in a way that does not involve melting the metals, resulting in well-compacted, homogeneous and therefore high-grade materials.
ECN has now demonstrated that it is feasible to use DLP technology for printing metals. “We can develop these kinds of techniques because we have expertise in building up thin layers of material and in powder metallurgical shaping,” stated Jan Opschoor, researcher in Materials, Testing & Analysis at ECN.
To date, ECN has shown that it is feasible to use DLP technology to build up metal products in layers. ECN is seeking partners in the private and public sectors to further the development of the technology and get it ready for the market. “We think that this technology will make a large number of new applications possible that could not be produced, or could hardly be produced, in the past,” added Opschoor.
Previously, ECN had already supported the development of this Additive Manufacturing technology for the 3D printing of ceramic materials. This was achieved in partnership with InnoTech Europe B.V. and Formatec Ceramics. This collaboration led to the founding of the company Admatec Europe B.V. Admatec uses 3D technology to manufacture high-grade ceramic materials and parts for industrial and aesthetic applications.