Spanish research centre Andaltec will be developing a new set of active polymers for 3D printing medical devices. The project, is named PoliM3D. The PoliM3D project's aim is the production of active polymers for 3D printing to be employed in medical applications. Andaltec's researchers are going to develop and characterise new polymeric materials that are easily suitable for FDM printing technology. These materials will be used to manufacture implants, prostheses and surgical tools suited to every patient's need. This initiative is funded by the R&D scheme directed to private entities of the department for Economy, Business and University of the Andalusian government. The execution deadline is 24 months, which means that research work will be carried out until late 2021. For further information see the IDTechEx report on 3D Printing in the Medical and Dental Industry 2019 - 2029.
These new materials will come with some very useful active properties, such as cell growth or antimicrobial and analgesic capabilities, which will provide an added value to the innovative medical devices. Andaltec researchers will focus on the development of filaments for 3D printing with new materials, a 3D printing optimisation process, as well as on the physical-chemical and biological characterisation of these materials during all their production stages.
Antonio Peñas, head of the PoliM3D project, highlights that additive manufacturing and the use of activated polymers open up several possibilities in order to offer more affordable and efficient medical treatments, above all if the manufacturing process is carried out in the hospital itself. He also states that the use of 3D printing in the health sector allows for a reduction in both cost and time needed to start treatments, which implies better conditions for patients and a more rational use of the limited resources available for health systems.
Mr Peñas also advocates for a better implementation of 3D printing technology in hospitals, as it enables the production of prostheses, implants and even surgical tools that are more precise and safer, once all the materials and manufacturing systems have been developed. Andaltec is able not only to create the new materials and devices but also cooperate with the hospitals in order to train the technicians in charge of manufacturing these elements on-site. The Technological Centre for Plastics benefits from a broad experience in additive manufacture, since it counts with a 3D printing centre within the Prototype area. It also offers other services, such as 3D printing material development or production of short series and special parts.
Top image: MIT