Berlin-based Quantica has unveiled its groundbreaking NovoJet print head technology at Formnext 2023, which has the potential to redefine both 2D and 3D inkjet printing. The core of this innovation, the NovoJet OPEN, enables the use of functional materials such as durable, flexible or conductive fabrics – a capability that is unique in the current inkjet printhead market landscape.
By partnering with Additive Appearance, a Charles University spin-off company, Quantica offers a software solution that enables the challenging seamless combination of multiple materials. This is a critical aspect in the design of applications with specific property requirements. The software enables reliable simulation of 3D models for printing, creating a direct path to accurately manufacture end products from multiple materials.
The “MultiSlice” build management and slicing software developed by Quantica and Additive Appearance enables users to produce objects that go beyond mere mold replication. This includes the replication of appearance and function. Using simulations and the expertise of computer graphics researchers at Charles University, the software uses advanced algorithms to predict the appearance of a 3D model with high accuracy.
MultiSlice will be introduced together with the first NovoJet OPEN systems, which will be launched in the first quarter of 2024. The teams plan to further develop the technology in several iterations to achieve different levels of sophistication in terms of controlling physical properties at the voxel level. These include mechanical properties such as flexibility and conductivity, as well as appearance properties such as color and the ability to switch between them.
Quantica’s Head of Product Management, Grace Chang, emphasizes, “Both our companies, embodying the agility of startups, are uniting to redefine the potential of 3D material jetting. In a landscape where functional, multi-material 3D printing lacks adequate software, we are excited to collaborate with a team that is leveraging modern approaches to developing complex software. Our collaborative goal is to leverage these advancements, making functional, multi-material 3D printing more accessible, efficient, and adaptable.
The Additive Appearance team uses artificial intelligence and differentiable programming to develop new approaches to long-standing problems in the printing industry such as halftoning and print preview. After years of academic research, they have published several scientific articles in leading journals, including a publication on an approximate but faster print preview using a neural network.
“With the trend in 3D printing going to more and more printheads, existing software is starting to limit the hardware’s potential. The problem of which material to put in which voxel is getting increasingly difficult. This is why a radically new approach based on cutting-edge research and modern software technologies, such as differentiable computation and machine learning, is required to drive the printers of the future. We both share this realization and are looking to create a synergy of software and hardware that unlocks many new possibilities in the material-jetting domain.” says Tobias Rittig, Ph.D., Additive Appearance’s Chief Technology Officer.
Following the premiere of the NovoJet OPEN system and the launch of a beta program at Formnext 2023 with selected partners such as the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA and REHAU Industries SE & Co KG, Quantica is looking forward to a year of growth and expansion. In early 2023, Quantica secured a €14 million Series A funding round and entered into a strategic printhead partnership with industry leader Xaar.