Canon Announces Proprietary Ceramic Material for 3D-Printing Complex Parts

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Canon 3D printer.

Canon Inc. of Tokyo, Japan, announced today that it’s developed a manufacturing technology for highly accurate 3D printing of ceramic parts with complex geometries using a proprietary ceramic material for 3D printers.

The 3D-printed ceramic parts feature such properties of conventional ceramics as heat and corrosion resistance, as well as insulating properties, and are expected to be used in a variety of different fields, including industrial equipment.

Ceramic parts created using the new technology

Ceramic parts created using the new technology

Canon notes that 3D printers that use materials such as metal and resin, which enable easy prototyping and the production of a variety of parts in small lots, have started to become more common. However, many existing ceramic materials for 3D printers contain resin and the parts produced using these materials can shrink approximately 20 percent during the post-annealing process, making it difficult to produce ceramic parts with high accuracy.

In contrast, Canon says it’s developed a new alumina-based ceramic material suited to selective laser melting, as well as a new parts production technology. Through this technology, a 3D printer can be used to stably produce ceramic parts with such complex geometries as hollow and porous structures, which are difficult to achieve through ordinary metal molding or cutting processes. For example, the company says that when creating honeycomb shapes with hexagonal hollows and a diameter of approximately 19 mm, parts can be produced with high accuracy with differences in external dimensions before and after the annealing stage of less than 0.8 percent.

Honeycomb-shaped part

Honeycomb-shaped part

Compatible with parts of varying geometrical elements

Compatible with parts of varying geometrical elements.

According to Canon, ceramic parts manufactured using this technology are expected to be used in all kinds of industrial fields, from parts for equipment that demands heat resistance and insulating properties, such as electric furnaces, to parts facing exposure to chemicals that require corrosion resistance. Canon Group companies, including Canon Inc. and Canon Machinery, are investigating applications for this technology in the prototyping of parts for industrial equipment.

Going forward, Canon says it plans to expand the use of this technology to such areas as the medical field through the development of more compatible materials to meet an even wider range of prototyping and wide-variety, small-lot needs.

Canon previewed its first in-house-developed 3D printer back in 2015 at Canon Expo 2015. It also introduced

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