3D printing with silicone for use in medicine
We can print 3D objects using a wide variety of materials, from PLA to cement, as we saw a few days ago with the house they built in just 24 hours.
It is this variety that allows us to affirm that 3D printing will change the way we live in the future, since we will have the possibility from printing bones to creating metallic objects, transforming the industry as we know it.
Now it is silicone that makes its way in the sector thanks to the development of Spectroplast, a company that has developed a method to manufacture products of this material using a 3D printer with the aim of launching personalized medical products, such as hearing aids, prostheses for the market. patients with breast cancer and eventually even artificial heart valves.
Their ultimate goal is to save lives, as they have managed to print custom biocompatible silicone parts to perfectly fit the individual patient.
Soft elastic silicone is still used exclusively with injection molding, where different elements of the composite material fuse at extremely high temperatures of around 300 degrees. This new system presents a novel method that makes it possible to create soft silicone parts with a 3D printer, which has two advantages:
– It is capable of producing very complex forms for the first time.
– Makes production simpler and cheaper, since molds are not required.
Apparently it will still be some years before the young company can market artificial heart valves or implants created by 3D printing, since the approval and regulation processes relevant to medical devices are very complex and time-consuming, but the first step is already It is given.
Although its printer, the Spectroplast, has only been running since last year, it has done so without stopping, and its customer base has already increased to around 200.