3D printing production is still at its infancy. However, if observed closely, one can easily find many references that indicate this historical shift is already well underway.
Upon inspection nowadays even a layman can also understand, 3D production of functional end-use parts is already one of the fastest growing areas in the manufacturing sector. Meet a 2005 born Israel based Rehovot, XJet. The company is renowned provider of groundbreaking metal and ceramic additive manufacturing technologies and solutions. XJet has developed and introduced the revolutionary NanoParticle Jetting™ technology that enables the production of metal and ceramic AM parts featuring unprecedented levels of detailing, finish and accuracy while delivering physical, geometric and operational advantages.
With a decade of research behind it, XJet’s NPJ technology enables the production of metal or ceramic parts with the same ease and versatility of inkjet printing without compromising throughput or quality. XJet’s world-class team of skilled industry veterans and dynamic R&D specialists holds over 80 registered and pending patents. Leveraging its proprietary technology and proven expertise, XJet is redefining the metal and ceramic AM industries.
Industry Redefining Systems
XJet flagship AM system based on the NPJ technology is;
XJET Carmel 1400: The XJet Carmel 1400 is the industry’s ultimate AM system for applications requiring high productivity and superior quality. The Carmel 1400 features a 1,400 cm2 (217 in2) build tray – one of the industry’s largest – enabling the simultaneous production of multiple parts. Highly suitable for a wide range of AM applications in diverse industries, the state-of-the-art Carmel 1400 system can be configured for the manufacturing of either metal or ceramic parts. The XJet Carmel 1400 leverages XJet’s revolutionary NanoParticle Jetting™ (NPJ) technology. This patented inkjet technology enables the production of metal and ceramic AM parts of the highest quality – featuring unprecedented levels of detailing, finish and accuracy – without compromising throughput or build time.
Hanan Gothait, Founder and CEO of XJet, is one of the most recognized and highly respected experts in the field of inkjet and 3D printing in Israel and worldwide. As an innovator and entrepreneur, he was one of the founders of Objet Geometries, the manufacturer of 3D printers and Idanit, a manufacturer of wide format 2D printers which were ahead of their time in terms of speed and technology.
For nearly 30 years, Hanan has been at the forefront of developing inkjet technologies. First, he developed inkjet capabilities for very high speed printing, then he developed the ability to use inkjet for 3D printing of polymers – layer over layer – and now at XJet, the development went through another step-change in the development of printing with very complex materials, such as metals and industrial ceramics.
Hanan founded XJet in 2005, committing to a decade of research developing a revolutionary new 3D printing technology. Holding over 80 registered and pending patents, and through Hanan’s guidance, XJet is set to make big changes in its field.
Amazing Support Material Increasing Productivity
The biggest experience of XJet was the design of the breakthrough ink for the support material. After years of developing outstanding ink for metal and for ceramic, it was clear that no solution is complete if the support shall need to be removed by hand. The little dirty secret of the AM industry and especially of Metal AM is that one can speed up the production of the part but if there is still a need for a manual work in finishing, this takes away the ability to compete with the existing technologies.
The success after many years was to create a support material that once printed creates support structure that will be strong enough to hold the metal build structure but at the same time shall be easy to remove. The overall cost of part and the overall productivity has changed big time thanks to the change of concept, using a different material for support structures rather than using the same material of the part build as the support material.
Handling Hazardous Materials with Utmost Care
According to XJet, the key to NPJ starts with its own unique liquid dispersion methodology. Liquid suspensions containing solid nanoparticles of selected build material are jetted onto the build tray to additively manufacture detailed parts. These liquid suspensions serve as the base materials for its AM process, unlike most existing metal and ceramic AM technologies that utilize hazardous and hard-to-handle powders. XJet’s liquid suspensions are delivered and installed in hassle-free sealed cartridges. The other fundamental unique element in the technology is the jetting of another material for creation of support structures. A material that is later easily dissolves, as previously explained.
“After reviewing parts produced using XJet technology we were extremely impressed with levels of precision and detail on the parts. Near-net-shape was another crucial factor as the more time we can take off post-processing the better the process we have, giving our teams confidence to go for more complex and sophisticated parts designed for AM.” – Mauro Antolotti, Beam-IT President
“We believe XJet brings tremendous capabilities to the membership. By delivering near-net-shape of parts, post processing and final machining is reduced. It’s going to allow us to enhance some of the functionality that we can drive into the parts through advanced design technologies. Another challenge that the industry is facing is the lack of material choices. In terms of material options, the opportunities surrounding ceramics could be transformative in the industry.” -Rob Gorham, Executive Director America Makes