Evonik Develops Implant-Quality PEEK Filament for 3D Printing

Based on its Vestakeep i4 G, Evonik's 3D printing material offers biocompatibility, biostability and X-ray transparency.

Evonik has announced the development of a polymer filament based on PEEK (polyether ether ketone) in implant-grade quality for use as a 3D printing material for implants. This high-performance material can be used in fused filament fabrication (FFF) printers and is expected to enable additive production of three-dimensional plastic parts for medical implants in the human body.

The new PEEK filament is based on the company’s Vestakeep i4 G, a highly viscous implant-grade material. The product, said to offer biocompatibility, biostability, and X-ray transparency, is easy to process and has been used in medical technology applications such as spinal implants, sports medicine, and maxillofacial surgery.

Evonik will first offer a “testing grade” version of its PEEK filament for FFF technology. The testing-grade material has the exact same processing and mechanical product properties as the implant-grade material, but without the documentation needed for approval in medical device applications. This offers a cost-effective way of adapting the processing characteristics of the high-performance plastic for printing processes. The natural-colored filament, which has a diameter of 1.75 mm, is wound on 500-g spools suitable for direct use in standard FFF 3D printers for PEEK materials.

In the first quarter of 2019, the testing grade will be followed by an implant-grade Vestakeep i4 G, which can be provided with the required approval documentation.