Avignon Ceramic produces ceramic parts for foundry, aerospace and energy industries. The company is historically an expert on ceramic injection molding and produces cutting edge parts such as aerospace cores. For 3 years, Avignon Ceramic has been printing parts thanks to ceramic additive manufacturing.
In the field of foundry, ceramics are an excellent choice to produce consumable tools, including ceramic filters. Ceramics are the only materials that are both high temperature resistant and chemically stable.
For years, molten metal is filtered by ceramic foams made by impregnating an open cell polymer foam with ceramic slurries. Then, by sintering the ceramic the polymer structure disappears and only the ceramic foam remains.
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.
While the structure of the foam is randomly obtained in the traditional process, 3D printing allows engineers to design a tailor made hollow out part. A wide range of design and size can be obtained tanks to Zetamix, such as gyroid or geometric designs. Thus, Zetamix technology enables to control the flow of casting and the accuracy of the filtration by varying not only the design, but also the strut size and the pore size of the filter.
“Avignon ceramic has worked in the foundry industry for years. To perfectly meet our clients’ needs and to fully exploit the advantages of 3D printing, we propose only tailor made filters. Because we know that customization is the future of industry and because the production of standard filters is less efficient than personalized one, we early have moved in that direction.” Said Olivier Greck, Innovation and research business manager.
Moreover, the ceramic foam production process can result on really thin and brittle structure, that are likely to break down due to pressure of the molten metal and pollute the final product.
Zetamix technology is the only FDM 3Dprinting solution that enables engineers and technicians to create tailor made ceramic parts. By providing ceramic filament, Nanoe teams aim at making ceramic 3D printing easy and accessible to every company, whether it be SME or large international group.