In-house manufacturing of patient-specific implants with the ARBURG Freeformer – challenges in clinical process integration | ARBURG GmbH + Co KG
Prof. Dr. Ute Schäfer
Medical University of Graz
3D-printing of implants, tools or prostheses in a clinical setting is a highly challenging field in additive manufacturing. It is crucial to guarantee patients as well as attending physicians at any time the highest possible quality of material as well as printing process and this quality of course has to be reproducible and on the highest possible level. These requirements in the highly sensitive medical setting are highly challenging to fulfil and a broad range of preclinical investigations have to be done, before 3D-printed can be included to the clinical routine. The COMET K-Project CAMed funded by two Austrian public institutions aims to bring the highly promising technology of 3D-printing into a clinical setting to optimize treatment options by manufacturing patient-specific implants. One of the companies supporting this project is ARBURG, who provides the innovative printing technology “ARBURG Plastic Freeforming” in form of the ARBURG Freeformer 200-3X. In the first two project years of CAMed, optimal printing parameters for various promising materials were developed together with the scientific partner Montanuniversitaet Leoben. Printed samples were analysed on their mechanical characteristics by bending and charpy tests as well as on their clinical sterilizability and biocompatibility. Together with segmentation and simulation of patient data and a close cooperation with scientific partners for process development and optimization, the chance of integrating 3D-printing into the clinic within the next two years is getting closer and closer.