Johannes Homa, Co-founder & Managing Director, Lithoz GmbH
Johannes Homa will be joining us as a panel speaker for our conference session focused on Ceramic Additive Manufacturing Wednesday May 3.
Could you please tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I am the co-founder and managing director of Lithoz GmbH, the world-leading technology provider for ceramic 3D printers and high-performance materials. After receiving a PhD in Materials Science from the Technical University of Vienna, I co-founded Lithoz in 2011 alongside Dr. Johannes Benedikt to establish ceramic 3D printing as a complementary production technique in the manufacturing world.
We stand by the idea that a mere invention is not enough – to truly innovate, one has to work together with other companies to successfully bring an invention onto the market. As such, we don’t see Lithoz as having ‘customers’ – instead, we have partners with whom we work together to develop technology forward. In this way, the company offers a complete collaboration rather than simply selling machines and materials, as well as the opportunity of becoming partners in the future. With an all-in-one portfolio of 3D printing technologies, including our classic Lithography-based Ceramic Manufacturing process and the recent additions of Laser-Induced Slipcasting and LSD-Print, we are always working towards making more and more of our partners’ visions a reality!
Today, Lithoz is paving the way for innovation and success in ceramic 3D printing and setting the industrial standard for ceramic serial production. With the support of an expert team of engineers and material scientists, Lithoz has expanded into the fields of industry, medicine and dentistry, finding new applications for ceramics and 3D printing through their research and developments. By innovating forwards with our partners across industries and applications, we will together find new, exciting applications and uses for ceramic 3D printing in manufacturing.
Could you tell us how you have seen the industry shift, develop and/or grow over the last few years?
In terms of recent shifts, we are already seeing huge growth in the industry of ceramic 3D printing. A recent 3dbpm Research study has shown that the ceramic additive manufacturing industry is expected to grow over the next decade to become a $3.4 billion market by 2030*. Specifically, fields such as aerospace, machinery and defence, as well as applications such as semi-conductors, have been largely driving this industrial growth. As businesses have been increasingly using ceramic additive manufacturing to enter into serial production with such components and applications, these industries have experienced rapid growth along with the technology itself. The use of ceramic 3D printing in the medical and dental sector to produce bioresorbable implants, restorations and surgical tools represents another huge growing area which has been benefiting from the power and freedom of ceramic additive manufacturing.
Which ceramic applications are you most excited about and why?
Some of the most exciting applications we are seeing at the moment are in the industrial field, including machinery, semiconductors, ceramic sensors and piezoceramics. Thanks to the power of Lithography-based Ceramic Manufacturing (LCM) technology, geometries that were previously unachievable can now be manufactured for more efficient and powerful parts, while the increased hardness and chemical resistance of ceramic materials make them perfect for applications in aggressive environments. Ceramic parts serve as a great substitute to metal in high temperature applications due to their extremely high thermal resistance – for example, when using silicon nitride instead of metal to manufacture impellers for turbines, the parts produced can withstand and effectively perform at far higher temperatures than their respective metal counterparts.
In another direction, the medical applications being enabled via ceramic 3D printing are extremely exciting due to the bioresorbability of ceramic materials. Bioresorbable ceramic implants, made of materials such as tricalcium phosphate or hydroxyapatite, dissolve in the body as the organic bone heals and grows. As such, ceramic implants promote bone healing and the need for a second surgery to remove the implant is completely eliminated.
Finally, the recent development of multi-material 3D printing has opened up entirely new and powerful applications. By combining different materials, such as different ceramics, or ceramics with metal not only within single parts but also within individual layers, it is possible to manufacture multi-functional parts for applications in a variety of fields – including those not yet discovered. It is those applications currently being explored and found that is truly exciting for the 3D printing world today.
What are the key challenges and/or opportunities facing the ceramics industry?
With climate change being an increasingly relevant problem in our world today, there is no doubt that solutions must be found to tackle this obstacle. Working towards eco-friendly solutions and overcoming such problems will be the major priority of all industries over the next decade. Enabling new and more sustainable solutions for durable and efficient parts are the top focuses for companies right now. As such, innovators will increasingly consider ceramics as a powerful and sustainable solution which can keep pace with the demands of technological innovation. The integral advantages of ceramics over metals and polymers in terms of durability, biocompatibility and flexibility prove why they are gaining a growing share of the market and will offer a real boost in the race for efficiency.
What are you most looking forward to at Ceramics Expo 2023?
I always look forward to meeting with the familiar faces from research and industry at events all over the world! Being able to share the fast progress we make in innovation and technology every year is a real joy and already gets you excited for the next year’s event. A highlight for me at each show is our presentation of ‘touch-and-feel’ ceramic 3D-printed parts, letting visitors experience the top quality and precision of our technology and materials themselves – this really helps connect the theory of our technique with the practice and results!
We can't wait to welcome Johannes this May. To find out more about the conference agenda, please click here.