Nanoe is a French company specialized in ready-to-use materials for high tech application. Its original business is the development and production of high purity ceramic raw materials. In 2018, Nanoe launched a new brand : Zetamix, the first ceramic and metal filaments.
For high performance industries, perfect-fit tools are required to improve product quality and to facilitate production processes. However, mass production cannot provide tools specialized enough for high tech industries. 3D printing allows companies to get customized tools adapted to their needs.
Dispersion turbines are daily used in a wide range of industries and research labs to blend solid/liquid dispersion in semi-viscous phase. On Nanoe’s lab and production sites, the quality of products depends directly on the accuracy of blending. Thus, almost all production processes include stirring or blending of ceramic slurries, and often with stainless steel blades. However, using metallic blades brings a number of issues that must be considered, such as pollution of slurries by metallic traces , fast oxidation of blades and standardization of designs, incompatible with the specific needs of Nanoe.
Indeed, for each process, batch size and type of mixer, Nanoe requires a specific blade, and sometimes a few different blades depending on the product. Having a range of on demand blades would be highly appreciated, but too much complex and expensive by traditional processes Moreover, Nanoe synthesizes and produces high purity ceramic powders for industrial companies and metallic pollution are unsuitable. Because ceramics are very abrasive materials, even stainless steel is not resistant enough. Up to now, Nanoe used to change its blades often in order to avoid oxidation of the tools and pollution of the ceramic powders, at the cost of maintenance shutdown and resources. Using a ceramic dispersion blade instead would be relevant, but this product doesn’t exist today on the market. Buying a tailored-made blade would be very expensive and delivering time would take month, especially one made of ceramic. It would trigger the launch a whole new production chain for only a few pieces. Specifically, a tailored made blade just for a simple laboratory high shear mixer was estimated at a cost of 1000€ and a lead time of 6 weeks.
The whole process took only one week, from the design to the actual use of the new blade. Material cost was 12€ (25g). To make sure that the blade’s details would be printed properly, Nanoe 3D expert printed it in two steps, disconnecting the top and the bottom of the tool. For both parts, a 0.2 mm nozzle was required and the height of print had to be adjusted to 0.1 mm, in order to improve the surface quality. After 2 hours and 11 minutes of printing, the blade was soaked in an acetone bath for 12 hours. After drying, it was sintered in a ZetaSinter furnace for3 days.
|Standard Impeller||On demand production||Zetamix|
|Cost||50 € (57$)||1000 € (1142$)||12 € (14$)|
|Lead Time||2 weeks||6 weeks||1 week|
|Material||Stainless steel||Zirconia||Choice between Alumina, zirconia, 316L|
|Complexity of Part||Standard part only, only a few sizes available||Simple part only, adaptable size||Unlimited|
Finally, Nanoe benefits daily of the advantages of Zetamix technology. By customizing its tools for powder production, Nanoe is improving its processes and is no longer depending on OEMs or tool manufacturers. This allows important resources savings in terms of negotiating time, money and logistics.