In this week’s second edition of 3D Printing News Briefs, we have some more partnership announcements in what has become a partnership-heavy week, as well as a couple of 3D printed devices that have received FDA clearance. Nanyang Technological University, Singapore has partnered with PTT Global Chemical for the development of advanced 3D printing materials for the automotive industry, and Concept Laser teams up with LAUAK Group team up to advance additive manufacturing in the aerospace industry. A Stratasys 3D printer is used to prototype a robot bound for Mars, and Additive Orthopaedics and K2M both receive FDA 510(k) clearance for their latest 3D printed medical devices.
NTU Singapore and PTT Global Chemical to Develop Advanced 3D Printing Materials for Automotive Industry
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) in Thailand. The two institutions will collaborate on the development of advanced 3D printing materials for the next-generation automotive industry. In particular, they plan to develop materials that could be used to 3D print vehicle components for improved fuel efficiency and reduced carbon dioxide emissions.
PTTGC, the largest petrochemical and refining company in Thailand, invests in the expansion of specialty and green chemical products, while NTU Singapore has become a leader in the development of advanced 3D printing applications in recent years – particularly in the areas of aerospace and defense, healthcare, and the marine and offshore industry. NTU is also trying to boost productivity in building and construction by 3D printing customized concrete structures.
“Our company is leveraging its research and development competencies as one strategic arm for growth and sustainability,” said Supattanapong Punmeechaow, President and CEO of PTTGC. “Thus, we collaborate with both domestic and international external partners to attain timely commercialisation. Under the current Thailand 4.0 Policy, Thailand is moving towards an innovation-driven economy. Both PTTGC and NTU Singapore have mutual interests and complementary strengths, creating synergy for faster innovation.”
Concept Laser and LAUAK Group Sign Aerospace Additive Manufacturing Agreement
In another partnership, Concept Laser and French aeronautical company LAUAK Group have signed a Letter of Intent for a collaboration that will advance additive manufacturing in the aerospace industry. The agreement was signed at the International Paris Air Show, which is running from June 19th to the 25th. Under the terms of the agreement, LAUAK will invest in Concept Laser’s 3D printers as a reference customer, while Concept Laser will work with LAUAK to design new products and implement new additive manufacturing processes.
“LAUAK sees the potential of additive manufacturing and I’m delighted they’ve chosen Concept Laser equipment to help the company on its journey,” said Frank Herzog, CEO of Concept Laser. “We will support them with equipment, processes, and people to allow them to meet their objectives.”
The partnership will involve redesigning certain LAUAK components using additive manufacturing. In addition, LAUAK will present Concept Laser’s machines to reference customers in its showroom.
“We see the huge potential in additive manufacturing and we want to use this technology to complete and improve our current manufacturing processes, as well as the manufacture of new components for the aviation industry,” said Mikel Charritton, CEO of LAUAK.
Stratasys 3D Printing Technology Helps Advance German Mission to Mars
The German Aerospace Centre is developing a TransRoPorter, or TRP. What’s a TransRoPorter, you may ask? It’s an exploration robot, designed for unmanned missions to Mars, and the German Aerospace Centre is prototyping it using a Stratasys Fortus 900mc 3D printer. Using 3D printing to create a working prototype significantly reduced cost and time as compared to traditional prototyping methods, allowing the team to test the design and functionality of the TRP under simulated extreme conditions such as those that will be found on Mars.
“For us it was clear, a prototype made out of metal was too expensive and complex in production,” said Dr. Kaj Fuehrer, Head of System Building Technology South, who is developing the TRP prototype along with colleagues. “In the planning of this project, we always preferred 3D printing technology. It became evident to us that using 3D printing for the production of the TransRoPorter was truly the least expensive, fastest and most elegant solution. Everyone involved in the project is delighted with the outcome.”
The TransRoPorter is made from two components: the moveable TRP Rover-Unit, designed to navigate in rough terrain, and the Payload-Module, which carries spare parts, tools, and communication technology. The TRP is expected to launch in four to five years.
Additive Orthopaedics Receives FDA Clearance for 3D Printed Bunion Correction System
Additive Orthopaedics, LLC has received FDA 510(k) clearance for its Bunion Correction System, a minimally invasive, intermedullary 3D printed implant to align and stabilize bunions. It’s the company’s fourth 3D printed device that has received 510(k) clearance; a year ago, Additive Orthopaedics was granted clearance for its first product, a 3D printed titanium digital fusion implant. The young company has six complete product lines in total, and since its first commercial product line was launched at the end of 2016, surgeons have implanted more than 400 of its devices.
“This new 3D printed implant allows us to have features in plates that we cannot get with standard manufacturing processes,” said Dr. Selene Parekh, Professor of Surgery in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke Orthopaedics and North Carolina Orthopaedic Clinic. “Namely, it allows an area of the plate to provide additional fixation and strength over time enabling bone to grow onto and through the plate. The hope is that a feature like this will allow for more reliable integration and alignment of bones following a bunion procedure.”
K2M Receives FDA Clearance for 3D Printed Spinal Device
K2M Group Holdings also received FDA 510(k) clearance this week, for its MOJAVE PL 3D Expandable Interbody System. Featuring K2M’s Lamellar 3D Titanium technology, the MOJAVE is a fusion device designed to allow for independent control of the anterior and posterior height in the lumbar spine – a capability not available with any other product on the market, according to K2M.
K2M was the first leading spine company to market a 3D printed titanium interbody device, and its Lamellar 3D Printed Titanium technology incorporates a porous structure with rough surfaces to allow for bone integration through the device.
“We are proud to be the global leader in 3D printing of spinal applications. We have developed internal 3D expertise that is allowing us to accelerate the rate of spinal innovation. As the first-ever, FDA-cleared, 3D-printed expandable interbody technology, MOJAVE PL 3D exemplifies our leadership in this space and provides surgeons the ability to expand the implant in-situ. This is our second family of products featuring Lamellar 3D Titanium Technology and builds upon the incredibly successful CASCADIA 3D family of static 3D-printed interbody cages,” said K2M President and CEO Eric Major. “Our continued innovation in 3D solutions and our focus on 3D spinal balance, demonstrated by the recent launch of our Balance ACS platform, solidifies our position as a market leader and innovator in the industry. We look forward to continuing to introduce new three-dimensional solutions to surgeons who treat patients with spinal disorders.”
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