The Lithography-based Manufacturing technology, based on stereolithography for ceramic materials, was invented in 2006 at the Technical Univeristy of Vienna. The technology was adapted for metals in 2015, and Lithography‐based Metal Manufacturing (LMM) became a form of 3D printing technology for creating advanced metal models, prototypes and production parts. The techology uses the principle of photopolymerization, where metal powder is homogeneously dispersed in a light-sensitive resin and selectively polymerized by exposure with light.
It only takes roughly ten minutes to get from a metal powder to a clean block of feedstock ready for 3D printing, including an evaluation of the printing properties. The feedstock is applied layer by layer with a coating blade during the printing process. This composition allows for a wide range of metals to be processed, from 316L stainless steel to titanium, copper, tungsten, precious metals, carbides and many more. Depending on the geometry, up to 99% of the surrounding feedstock can be recycled.
After the printing step, the simplified post-processing requires only 15 minutes to “de-cake” the block, releasing the green parts. Once the parts are printed, they undergo a cleaning process which can be more intensive for smaller, complex parts. Green parts then undergo a debinding/sintering step to achieve the final metallic properties. Incus is developing new ways of simplifying these steps to minimize labor via automation.
The Incus 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 post-processing machinery or additional expertise, thus enabling a reduction of production costs and time.
Request a demo part from Hammer Lab35!