HC 3D Printed Ceramic Spin Out Company

Lead Research Organisation: University of the West of England
Department Name: Fac of Arts Creative Ind and Education


The aim is to create a spin out company that exploits the patented 3D printed ceramic process developed by Hoskins and Huson at the University of the West of England, Bristol as a result of an AHRC funded project 'The Fabrication of Three Dimensional Art and Craft Artefacts through Virtual Digital Construction and Output'. According to the influential Wohler's Report of 2011, the Global 3D print market is estimated by to be worth $1.74 billion and is growing at an annual rate of 24.1%. Overall the 3D print industry has grown in double digit figures for 15 of its 24 years. There are many bureau services around the world for 3D printing specialising in 3D printing prototype models for industry. To date there is only one company, Figulo, who are US based, printing in 3D ceramics in the global market. The applicants and their partner believe is a demand for a UK based specialist 3D printed ceramic bureau service. 3D printed ceramics is a real material with which it is possible to print shapes in ceramics. that were previously unobtainable, it is this second aspect the company seeks to exploit.

The target of the company is to create a 3D ceramic prototyping facility for designers and the ceramic tableware industry in the UK and Europe. In addition the company will investigate the commercial potential of printing ceramic setters for the industry. Additional markets will be 3D printed photoceramic tiles for both decorative use and the Southern European gravestone market and a range of off the shelf 3D printed designs.

To achieve this aim the a new range of slip coating materials will be developed that replicate the characteristics of earthenware, stoneware and porcelain bodies and a source of suitable glazes will be identified or new glazes developed, to match these new bodies. In addition the bid seeks to gain better market intelligence of the industrial ceramic tableware market on top of targeting the consumer and specialist bespoke designer and craft markets. The applicants will be aided in partnership with Sibelco a Belgian mineral and metal extraction company with a global reach. Sibelco have over 245 production units worldwide for the extraction, production and distribution of the main industrial minerals quartz, cristobalite, nepheline syenite, plastic clay, and olivine. The UK research and development arm of Sibelco will collaborate on the project both with technical support in kind and assistance with market intelligence.

Planned Impact

The primary beneficiaries of this project will be industrial and artist/craft/design users in the creative industries working with ceramics that will interface with and be customers of the company. It will put the UK at the forefront of 3D printed ceramics and demonstrate the commercial viability of UK art and design research having a direct impact upon UK PLC as a cutting edge digital manufacturing environment.

The project will impact on the UK ceramics industries ability to develop new product in much reduced turn-around times. By reducing the time taken to produce setters from a six to eight week minimum turn around currently achieved, due to shipping times from China, down to a matter of days from concept to completion. Currently a ceramic prototype requires several days of a full time craftsman to create a plaster mould to cast a finished prototype. This service will reduce that time at a greatly reduced cost. It will allow industry to create inexpensive ceramic prototypes therefore making them more innovative and able to take chances. In the long term it also gives the industry the ability to create specialist mass customised objects in a way that would have been inconceivable in the past.

For artists, designers and craftspeople, the service will allow the creation of a one-off or limited run of a design at a commercially viable price, without needing a large workshop and expensive tooling. Further copies can be created to order without the need to create all of the objects in one go. The service would cater to the new breed of designer craftsperson, who is a comfortable working in a digital environment, as working with traditional hand tools and skills.


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Huson D A presentation on 3D printing in Journée Technique : Fabrication additive numérique céramique

Description Researched Market and developed product from a research finding to an actual working process, working with real clients. End result was the formation of a spin out company
Exploitation Route The results of 2 research grants have developed to a commercial company that can be accessed by the general public and industry to either buy products or have their design printed in ceramic. In addition is has proved the potential of a commercially available ceramic material for 3D printing that has created dialogue and collaborations with industrial companies such as Sibelco, Imirys, Denby, Wedgwood and Viridis
Sectors Creative Economy,Education,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Other

URL http://www.Argillasys.com
Description We have created a 3D ceramic printing facility for designers and the ceramic tableware industry. The spin out company launched in 2015. Meetings have taken place with ceramic companies in the UK, France and Belgium. A USA based company has tested the material and in negotiations with UWE to license the material. A selection of artefacts have been designed, tested and printed and are now available for sale via the spin out company website.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Creative Economy,Education,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Economic

Description Sibelco 
Organisation Sibelco
Country Belgium 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Supplied the intellectual property,specific recipes and ingredients for a 3D printed ceramic material
Collaborator Contribution Sibelco made batches of material for us, supplied spray dried expertise and generally assisted in making larger quantities of material on a small industrial scale
Impact Sibelco have become advisory board members for the 3D spin out company Argillasys. Ongoing discussions are taking place for a new collaborative EPSRC bid
Start Year 2014
Company Name Argillasys 
Description Argillasys (formally known as H2 ceramics) was registered in 2013 but did not start trading until 2015. The company is part owned by UWE, Stephen Hoskins and David Huson. Employing marketing officer and a technician the company specialises in 3D printed ceramics selling both artefacts created by designers and a bespoke bureau printing service for artists and industry. 
Year Established 2015 
Impact The company is in its early stages and has yet to make an impact on the marketplace. The company has undertaken testing for Wedgewood and Denby Potteries plus prototyping for International artists.
Website http://www.Argillasys.com