The innovative Incus Technology – Lithography-based Metal Manufacturing – offers a new ground-breaking approach for the additive manufacturing of metals centered around Lithography-based Metal Manufacturing (LMM)
The Incus technology was invented in 2006 at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna). Based on the stereolithography for ceramic materials, the new 3D printer was developed for producing high-accuracy dental parts, i.e. patient-specific crowns and bridges.
To quickly bring the new 3D printing technology for ceramic from concept to reality, Lithoz was founded in 2011 focusing on intensive development of new materials. A few years later, the new 3D printing approach was successfully tested during European research project ReProMag dedicated to manufacturing of complex geometries with use of metal powders.
With metal powders, Incus took the technology one step further and came up with a way to print high-quality parts made of stainless steel and titanium. Through continuous co-operation with Lithoz, TU Vienna and the University of Pforzheim, Incus has succeeded in launching a breakthrough technology in metal 3D printing, Lithography‐based metal manufacturing.
Lithography‐based metal manufacturing (LMM) is a form of 3D printing technology for creating advanced metal models, prototypes and production parts using the principle of photopolymerization, where metal powder is homogeneously dispersed in a light-sensitive resin and selectively polymerized by exposure with light.
The LMM technology enables the production of high-performance parts with the same material properties as parts produced by Metal Injection Molding (MIM), a mass production method. LMM can be easily implemented into existing MIM manufacturing processes without the need for any postprocessing machinery or additional expertise, thus enabling a reduction of production costs and time.
Interested in 3D metal printing technology?
Learn more about additive manufacturing technologies for metals
Did you know, that with the Hammer Series processing of liquid feedstock and use of non-flowable powders are possible?
Liquid feedstock eliminated the presence of metal dust, enabling a safer working environment.
This made you curious?
It also allows for an easy extraction of the parts after the printing process.
Simplified and scalable production process
Incus offers a two-stage process, similar to Metal Injection Molding.
The green part is produced with the Incus Hammer Series Printer and then undergoes a debinding and sintering step to achieve the final metallic properties. This process can be scaled to produce larger batches of parts.
The Incus process in application
Advantages of LMM
This is why you should invest in this technology
Highest achievable surface quality compared to other AM processes
- High accuracy and resolution of printed parts
- Possibility of processing non-flowable and non-weldable materials
- Easy preparation of printing jobs and handling of machine
- Quick exchange of materials
- No danger to the operator (no metal dust or high-power laser)
Why LMM is complementary to MIM?
- Both are two-stage manufacturing processes
- Same range of metal powders as raw materials
- Similar furnace equipment for thermal post-processing
- Comparable mechanical properties and microstructure after sintering
- LMM as a ramp-up technology or for small-scale manufacturing
The applications for the Incus metal printing technology cover a wide spectrum of industries including but not limited to functional parts and components for various industrial applications including aerospace, energy, medical and automotive, as well as for jewelry and other unique applications. The potential applications for metal additive manufacturing are wide-ranging and the Incus team is looking forward to finding solutions for new challenges.
What is Additive Manufacturing?
Additive manufacturing, often called 3D printing, describes the process in which an object is produced layer by layer. In the last several years additive manufacturing has gained increasing recognition as a valuable means of manufacturing various types of objects and parts from different types of material. Complex objects can be easily produced using a digital data file, such as a CAD file, and the customized process allows for easy and fast production of prototypes or small batches of parts.
Additive manufacturing has begun to revolutionize many industries and the potential applications for metal printing are exciting and ever expanding.