When we met Quantica at RAPID+TCT this year, we were so impressed with its inkjet 3D printing technology that we quickly invited founder Ben Hartkopp to 3DPOD to discuss the startup’s plans. After unveiling the T1 Pro printer at Formnext 2021, the Berlin firm is back with a desktop system, called NovoJet C-7.
Quantica’s desktop inkjet 3D printer
Quantica’s inkjet technology is unique in its ability to process high viscosity materials, potentially opening up the inkjet segment to the production of a much wider range of functional items. Packing this technology into a compact package, the NovoJet C-7 can 3D print with viscosities in excess of 380 mPas at spray temperature, which equates to approximately 4,000 mPas at room temperature. It’s about 15 times more viscous than traditional inkjet 3D printing.
Users can also experiment with liquids with a high particle load. Additionally, the system can control up to seven material channels, enabling a variety of material combinations with improved mechanical properties, color fidelity and aesthetics. The NovoJet C-7 can also be customized according to the needs of R&D laboratories.
The NovoJet C-7 was specifically designed for research into new materials and workflows, as well as for feasibility testing and application development. However, Quantica also suggests that it can be used for low-volume custom production so that once parts are designed with the machine, they can then be made in small batches. It should be noted that this is one of the first desktop inkjet 3D printers, although Stratasys manufactures a range of smaller machines including the J35 Pro desktop 3D printer.
Quantica states that it has multiple industrial partners in the dental, medical and electronics sectors, among others with which it develops targeted solutions. According to the company, the NovoJet C-7 will begin shipping as an open system by the end of 2023, which will then be followed by the release of a closed system for specific applications. The open nature of this machine will allow researchers to experiment with the technology to develop fluids and design for multi-material inkjet 3D printing.
Pushing the boundaries of inkjet 3D printing
Right now, the world of photopolymer 3D printing is going through a transformation. On the vat light-curing side, we’ve seen new machines capable of 3D printing with higher viscosity resins that take the technology out of acrylate-based materials. As a result, users can produce parts that have a longer life and can withstand a wider range of environments.
Inkjet development has been a little slower to take off, partly because the technology is more complex. So far, Inkbit is one of the few startups alongside Quantica looking to open up the hardware set for the technology. The implications for inkjet are apparently much deeper given the technology’s ability to combine multiple materials at once.
So far, Stratasys PolyJet has delivered colorful, vibrant objects with varying degrees of flexibility and opacity. However, these parts are best suited for aesthetic purposes, such as visual and textural prototyping. If PolyJet machines were able to process more materials, it could not only result in more functional end parts, but also components with even more unique properties. Think 3D printing electronics and biological matter directly into polymer articles.
The NovoJet C-7 is just the start for the company. If Stratasys wants to stifle the competition before it gets too fierce, an acquisition would certainly make sense in this case.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Stay up to date on all the latest 3D printing industry news and receive information and offers from third-party vendors.