Johnson Matthey announced the opening of a new ceramic 3D printing facility in the UK, in order to boost the development and understanding of processes an materials involved in this technology.
Rosyston/UK — Currently, the company produces ceramic products with flexible geometries and feature sizes down to just 400 µm. This 3D printing process offers a cost effective solution for producing small complex ceramics on a large scale, the company claims.
"The new R&D laboratory will enable us to develop a greater understanding of 3D printing; characterising powders and inks to allow faster development and more effective solutions for customers," Sam O'Callaghan, Research Group Leader said.
In 3D printing, particle size distribution is an important factor, but shape can also play a significant role. According to the company, their new Qicpic image analysis sensor allows both to be measured simultaneously in a dry atmosphere similar to the 'in use' environment.
The new lab also features a Freeman FT4 Powder Rheometer, which allows allows seven different test types, resulting in 21 different powder properties. These are being combined with the company's knowhow to build a powder operating window.
An additional equipment used in the new facility involves ink characterisation techniques based on a Pixdro ink jet printer, fitted with same printhead system installed across all of the R&D prototype and pilot plant printers. This allows diversity, as well as cost saving experiments, assessing alternative suppliers and reagents, the company announced.
Finally, the lab also features a mixer torque rheometer that allows powder-ink interactions to be measured. This enables the experts to define the ideal printer settings prior to printing as well as giving them a background understanding of why certain powders perform differently to others.