Scaling up—The high potential of additive manufacturing for the ceramics industry

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Scaling up—The high potential of additive manufacturing for the ceramics of complex, strong, and high-resolution objects from various ceramics for industrial and medical applications. This article gives a portrait of a young company that navigated through the start-up phase and now is establishing Credit: Lithoz industry Figure 1. Johannes Benedikt (left) and Johannes Homa (right) with their CeraFab system. By Monika Homa Formerly used to create rapid prototypes, additive manufacturing has come into its own for productionscale manufacture. As the technology has grown, so has one small Austria-based company. Lithoz GmbH (Vienna, Austria)— built on the strength of a decade of research—developed an additive manufacturing (AM) process that allows, for the first time, production of dense, finely structured, high-performance ceramic parts. Lithoz manufactures ceramic parts using lithography-based ceramic manufacturing (LCM) technology to enable creation itself as a world market leader of AM systems for high-performance ceramics. The rapid rise of the company shows the huge growth potential of the technology and gives first insights about developments as well as economical and technological perspectives of AM for advanced ceramics. Since its beginnings in the 1980s, AM, often also referred to as rapid prototyping or 3-D printing, has developed into one of the most dynamic and most promising areas of innovation in the manufacturing industry worldwide. The market value of AM, estimated at €1.7 billion in 2012, is expected to quadruple by 2022.1 AM technologies already are established successfully in various industries (e.g., hearing aids) and various materials, including metals or plastics. AM also has been gaining more importance in the ceramics industry recently. In addition to opening up new markets and the creation of improved applications, the technology has the potential to create radical innovations in the future and, thus, can change the market significantly. 22 www.ceramics.org | American Ceramic Society Bulletin, Vol. 95, No. 3


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