Linde Partners with 3D Medlab in Pioneering Research to Optimize 3D Printing of Complex Structures for Medical Devices
Linde and 3D Medlab are collaborating to test optimal atmospheric solutions for 3D printing of complex, latticed structures for medical implants.
Edited by AM Staff
Linde is partnering with 3D Medlab on research into how atmospheric conditions in the additive manufacturing (AM) process can be optimized to produce complex latticed structures for medical devices. 3D Medlab is known for additive manufacturing in the medical sector. This joint project is the first of its kind and represents a milestone in the field of orthopedic device development, according to the company.
Multifaceted, latticed components aim to mimic human body parts and can better assimilate into the patient’s own bone and tissue structure, leading to fewer rejections and quicker healing times. Additive manufacturing can optimize production of such components, however, the atmosphere in the printing chamber needs to be optimal and reproducible. Even extremely small variations in oxygen content can impair the mechanical or chemical properties of metals sensitive to oxygen — such as titanium and aluminum alloys — and can affect the composition of the end product. For the Linde/3D Medlab research trials, the titanium alloy in question is Ti-6AI-4V.
The atmospheric trials involve a new helium/argon gas mixture created especially by Linde for the project to make the process smoother and cleaner, along with use of Linde’s ADDvance O2 precision, an oxygen measuring and analysis technology to ensure the optimal mix of gases within the print chamber. Along with the new gas mixture, ADDvance O2 precision will give 3D Medlab precise, granular control over the oxygen concentration and humidity levels in the print chamber.
While the current collaboration between Linde and 3D Medlab is focused on Ti-6AI-4V lattice structures, future efforts will include the potential of nickel titanium (also known as nitinol) in view of its excellent shape memory and super elasticity, making it an ideal candidate for next generation stents.
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