XJET has been quite busy helping clients develop new 3D printed ceramic applications.
In a recent discussion, I learned the company’s unusual ceramic 3D printing technology has assisted in the development of several high-end products. But it’s been a bit of a journey for XJET to arrive here.
The company first appeared on our radar a few years ago, when they unveiled their unique NPJ (Nano Particle Jetting) 3D printing process. NPJ involves selectively jetting very tiny droplets of liquid that contains even smaller nanoparticles of material.
When I first encountered the company in 2016 they were far from shipping production 3D printers, but had the process working in prototype form. At the time, I said this:
“So far they’ve experimented with stainless steel, silver, tungsten carbide and zirconium, but the process can also work with ceramics and potentially plastics as well.
In other words, Xjet just may have invented a 3D printing process that works with ALL materials. However, for now they’re focusing on metal applications because that’s where the money is these days.”
XJET Ceramic Shift
That’s where their story begins to change. While they correctly targeted metal 3D printing, the development cycles for their process ended up finalizing the ceramic process before they finished developing the metal 3D printing process. As a result they first marketed their product to those requiring ceramic prints.
They continued to develop the metal process, but it seems that the ceramic business has taken off, perhaps in a surprise to XJET who had been targeting the metal 3D printing market.
Now we see them expanding into the ceramic market with clients developing unusual ceramic applications no one had imagined.
3D Printed Ceramic Examples
One example is shown at top. It’s a unique breast cancer removal device. Made from ceramic, it is entirely safe for use in the human body. While it’s not entirely visible in the image, this item has internal structures that would be quite difficult to manufacture using other processes.
Another example is shown here, where they collaborated with a company to develop a unique earbud design. [Note: this image is of a similar style of earbud, as XJET was not allowed to show us the actual, “top secret” design.]
Like the breast cancer removal device, the earbud also has complex internal structures that in this case implement optimal audio flow. Again, not possible to easily produce using other manufacturing techniques, and also compatible with the human body.
Do you see a pattern here?
3D Printed Ceramic Applications
That is the niche I believe XJET has encountered and it should be quite profitable, as the number of applications in this zone could be vast. However, it will take some creativity on the part of clients, as they may not have even considered the type of designs now made possible with this technology.