In a joint sewing project, the Japanese ceramic expert AGC Ceramics Co., Ltd. (AGCC). and voxeljet AG have qualified the high performance ceramic material Brightorb ™ for 3D printing. In addition to potential applications in the production of structural components and works of art, the material is particularly suitable for 3D printing of very complex molds and cores for metal casting.
Friedberg near Augsburg, Germany, June 2021 – To develop the new set of BrightorbTM high performance ceramic materials for 3D printing, AGC Ceramics Co., Ltd. has entered into cooperation with voxeljet AG from Friedberg in Bavaria, Germany. Brightorb was developed on a VX1000 with a build volume of 1000 x 600 x 500mm. The 3D printing system works in layers and binds the ceramic particles with an inorganic binder. Targeted applications for the new set of ceramic materials include high performance cores for sand and lost wax casting, ceramic filters, structural components, as well as artwork and product design.
The ceramic material with its brand name Brightorb is composed of spherical sand with the main components of aluminum oxide (Al2O3) 80%, zirconium oxide (ZrO2) 10%, silicon oxide (SiO2) 9 %, minerals Corundum, Baddeleyite and types of cement. When 3D printing, Brightorb is applied on the build platform with average grain sizes of 50m and layer thicknesses of 100m and selectively bonded with inorganic binder. The inorganic binder is characterized by its high environmental compatibility because only water vapor is produced during molding. This considerably improves the environmental and working conditions in foundries. To then prepare the printed ceramic for the final application, the printed components are impregnated with a silica-based liquid and must be fired in a sintering oven for their final strength. Most of the unprinted powder can be reprocessed, recycled and put back into the printing process.
“We have long seen a growing demand for increasingly complex component geometries from our customers,” says Dr Ingo Ederer, CEO of voxeljet. “The great advantage of the geometric freedom of 3D printing is that geometric adjustments can greatly optimize the efficiency and efficiency of, for example, motors or turbine wheels. It is rare that such complex components can still be produced using conventional molding processes. Together. with AGCC, we have been able to optimize a VX1000 for ceramic powder in close cooperation, so that it is perfectly suited to the difficult requirements of melting metals. Both in terms of strength and surface quality, ”says Dr Ederer.
3D printed ceramics are used, for example, as cores for the lost wax casting process to reproduce intricate and filigree cavities in the casts. In this process, filigree cores are combined with conventional wax patterns. These are covered with a ceramic paste and burnt before casting. Only a hollow ceramic mold remains in which the printed core is still inserted. The molten metal is then poured into the mold. After cooling, the mold and the core are removed.
This process makes it possible, for example, to integrate internal cooling channels in the turbine blades, thus increasing the efficiency of the turbine and reducing downtime to a minimum.
Mr. Ushimaru, Director of Additive Manufacturing at AGCC is also satisfied: “Brightorb is a high performance ceramic which is extremely well suited for metal casting due to its high chemical stability, heat resistance, conductivity. thermal and low thermal expansion. We were able to optimize the material set so that the shrinkage factor of the printed components during the downstream sintering process at 1400 ° C was less than 1%. This means that the components are also suitable for filigree core designs. fire resistance, it is possible to cast alloys with melting points above 1600 ° C. Overall, ceramics will continue to gain importance as a material in the future, and so will even for 3D printing as a manufacturing technology. on this path with voxeljet and look forward to continuing close cooperation. “
Brightorb has been qualified in the voxeljet materials certification laboratory in Friedberg, Bavaria, Germany. The powder was developed by AGCC and suitable for 3D printing with voxeljet. Brightorb is expected to be commercially available from July 2021, both for printing systems and as an on-demand service.