National Centre for Additive Manufacturing to upgrade ceramic AM capability

The National Centre for Additive Manufacturing, based at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry, is to take delivery of a new machine which will result in a big expansion of its ceramic 3D printing capabilities.

The CeraMet 1 ceramic stereolithography machine from polymer 3D printing specialists Photocentric, will allow additive manufacturing experts at the MTC to print very large ceramic parts such as full size casting cores.

Peterborough-based Photocentric has been at the cutting edge of photopolymer additive manufacturing development for more than 18 years. In 2014 the company developed the first 3D-printer based on LCD screens and visible light technology. These have proved successful in the 3D printing of plastics, enabling significantly greater productivity with larger format printers, delivering lower final part costs.

The new CeraMet 1 stereolithography machine currently being installed at the MTC benefits from numerous innovations and is the culmination of Photocentric’s research into 3D printing ceramics. It enables the creation of ceramic objects at a much larger scale and with greater productivity than was possible before.  It uses a patent-applied-for dispensing and release system known as “blow peel”. This system allows a wide range of ceramic materials to be printed successfully.

Photocentric, as both printer and resin manufacturers, are installing their machine at the MTC and supplying ceramic resins. The range of ceramic resins that can be used in the machine is vast.

Will Rowlands, ceramic AM technology lead at NCAM, said, “The introduction of the CeraMet 1 at the MTC goes a long way to enhancing the MTC’s capability to support the UK ceramic manufacturing market. This is an exciting new avenue for the cost-effective manufacture of high quality, complex ceramic components, opening up this technology to a huge range of applications.”

Paul Holt, managing director at Photocentric Ltd said, “We are very excited to launch CeraMet 1 as our first large format ceramic 3D-printer. We are thrilled by the opportunity of custom mass manufacturing ceramic parts that this new machine will unleash. We believe that our partnership with the MTC will open up new horizons for the adoption of ceramics additive manufacturing in large scale across industries.”

The National Centre for Additive Manufacturing at the MTC brings together one of the most comprehensive combinations of additive manufacturing equipment and capability in the UK. It is also home to the European Space Agency’s Additive Manufacturing Benchmarking Centre.

The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd. The MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.

The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.

The MTC hosts the National Centre for AM (NCAM), which accelerates the adoption of AM by developing the technology and systems required to industrialise AM.

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