Metal jetting technology to make European debut

An additive manufacturing system that produces parts by jetting metal ink has been developed by Israeli firm Xjet. The system is based on the company’s so-called NanoParticle Jetting technology, which uses ink jetting to produce complex metal parts from a suspension of nanoscale particles.

The firm claims that the system represents a fundamental breakthrough in additive manufacturing and produced higher quality, more detailed parts than is possible with existing metal additive techniques – most of which build parts from powdered metal.

The technology uses solid metal nanoparticles suspended in liquid “ink” in sealed cartridges. During the printing process, ultra-fine layers of droplets of this ink – which also contains support structure nanoparticles – are deposited onto the build-tray, where extremely high temperatures cause the liquid ‘jacket’ around the metal nanoparticles to evaporate. After this a sintering process is carried out to fuse the metal particles together.

XJet metal additive manufacturing technology

XJet metal additive manufacturing technology (Source: XJet.com)

Xjet claims that the size of the particles and the ultra-thin layers that the process creates allows a level of detail that gives printed components virtually the same metallurgy as traditionally made metal parts. Because the raw material is loaded into the machine in a sealed cartridge the system is claimed to be far safer and more user-friendly than other systems, which require users to handle metal powders.

>>Read more by Jon Excell, The Engineer, November 8, 2016