Nov 23, 2015 | By Benedict

French additive manufacturing firm Multistation has unveiled Biocerawax, a new manufacturing process for bioceramics which can be used for the precise manufacturing of a wide range of custom architectures.

Whilst most industrial and consumer 3D printers print with plastics or metals, an important category of 3D printing materials within the medical 3D printing world is that of bioceramics. Bioceramics include materials such as zirconium, alumina and calcium phosphates. These materials are used by medical experts to replace hard organic material in the human body such as bones and teeth. Bioceramic materials are divided into two categories: bioactive and bioinert. Bioactive bioceramics biologically interact with the body and are eventually incorporated into it. Bioinert bioceramics, on the other hand, do not interact with the body in the same manner, but do cause a chemical reaction which coats the external layer of the ceramic. 3D printed implants can be made from bioceramic materials, which faithfully replicate the weight and strength of bonematerial, and which can be incorporated into the body with minimal disturbance.

One 3D printing firm to specialize in the production of bioceramic printing systems is Multistation, which recently unveiled its latest product: Biocerawax. Biocerawax is a new manufacturing process for bioceramics which the company claims offers several advantages over alternative techniques, additive or otherwise. Conventional production methods such as porogen leaching, phase separation, gas foaming, PMMA template replication and bone machining are each restricted by architectural limitations, as well as internal inhomogeneity and variation between samples. 3D printing can also be used to create products from bioceramics. SLA and SLM techniques offer advantages other traditional methods, by offering greater control over manufactured scaffolds, but these also have their flaws. Current additive processes have a lack of inter-phase flexibility, enact unwanted changes in the chemical and phase compositions, and often result in post-processing issues.

Biocerawax is designed to eliminate the problems associated with 3D printing with bioceramic materials. The process was developed by the EMSE (Ecole des Mines de Saint-Etienne), and can produce complex and lattice structures, impossible to replicate by traditional methods. Multistation’s latest product is able to preserve phase biocompatibility, without inducing phase modification. It also permits a wide range of custom architectures as fine as 5µm wide, as well as high cusps for channels of 150µm. The company also claims the 3D printing to be cheaper than alternatives such as SLS and SLM which user a laser beam as power source.

 

 

 

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