Breakthrough: Digital Light Processing For Metals

Tests have shown that the Digital Light Processing (DLP) based technology developed by the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) and its partners, for the 3D printing of ceramic materials can also be made suitable for metals, which will be, and I quote: ‘providing a higher-quality alternative to existing 3D metal-shaping techniques.’

The advantage is that this process does not involve melting the metals, as compared with Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Electron Beam Melting (EMB) and so forth, resulting in ‘well-compacted, homogeneous and therefore high-grade’ materials.

The research at the ECN has demonstrated that it is feasible to use DLP technology to build up metal products in layers. Previously, the centre has supported the development of this technology for the 3D printing of ceramic materials in partnership with InnoTech Europe B.V. and Formatec Ceramics, leading to the founding of the company Admatec Europe B.V. Admatec uses 3D technology to manufacture high-grade ceramic materials and parts for a range of applications. Jan Opschoor, researcher in Materials, Testing & Analysis at ECN said: “We can develop these kinds of techniques because we have expertise in building up thin layers of material and in powder metallurgical shaping.”

The ECN is the largest energy research institute in the Netherlands and with around 500 members of staff, the centre is active in projects both native and abroad. The ECN collaborates on joint efforts with industry, government authorities and research institutes via its branches in Petten, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Brussels and China. … (Read more)


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