Italy-based filament producer TreeD Filaments was busy in 2016, launching its high-temp PLA and biodegradable flex filaments, as well as its P-LENE polypropylene filament. The company’s filaments have been used for many innovative projects, including miniature models of famous monuments from around the world and prosthetics. Dr. Lelio Leoncini, Medical Director of the Sanatrix physical therapy and rehabilitation center in the Italian province of Potenza and a member of the WASPmedical group, was interested in using TreeD’s Shogun Superior PLA to make 3D printed orthopedic corsets. Now he has an additional option – HealthFil, TreeD’s newest line of filament that could bring about real change to the medical products and services industry.
HealthFil is the first medical grade 3D printing filament line and can be used for multiple medical applications, ranging from busts and medical models to professional orthotics. The HealthFil range of materials was specifically developed by TreeD, which is working hard to stand out in the global 3D market, in order to “meet the growing needs of the affordable medical 3D printing segment” and is already getting good results in the medical field.
Thanks to 3D printing, it’s possible to make customized orthopedic supports for individual patients, as the technology is capable of making more complex geometries than conventional machining methods. The HealthFil filament line is able to help with this, as it’s compliant with the requirements of UNI EN 10993-5 European standard; this means it’s 100% certified for skin contact.
TreeD partnered up with multiple industry professionals during the R&D phase to develop HealthFil so it would meet the specific demands of health professionals. For starters, the team worked with Dr. Leoncini, who can now use the HealthFil line to create his customized 3D printed scoliosis-curing busts because the materials are safe for skin contact. The HealthFil Fortis LL filament, based on a polyolefin matrix, is perfect for this type of application due to its enervation resistance, elastic memory, and high threshold for wear and laceration.
TreeD also worked with mechanical engineer Marco Avaro, a member of Porzio Group in Udine who specializes in biomechanical applications. Avaro used TreeD’s new HealthFil Structura MA polyamide carbon fiber composite, which combines high mechanical strength with lightweight properties. Structura MA can also produce structural supports with complex geometries, which makes it a good choice for mobility supports, exoskeletal and structural support elements, and prosthetics for both upper and lower limbs.
There are a total of six filaments in TreeD’s HealthFil line, each of which features specific properties for a variety of different medical applications.
The Osso filament, a special PLA, was developed for the purpose of simulating the texture and appearance of real bone for 3D model prototyping from CAT scans. Osso is easy to print, and offers great detail. Verum T is based on a polyester matrix and can produce rigid elements with high tenacity; the material can be sterilized in autoclave at 125° C and is good for printing lower leg guards and tutors, as well as scoliosis corsets.
Pure FT is a modified polyester elastomer, perfect for producing orthopedic insoles – this flexible material, enriched with a new generation antimicrobial material, has a 93 shore A hardness. Finally, Elasto A, which can be used to make sealed gaskets for prosthetic vase and elastic joint elements, is a polyester elastomeric flexible material with a 92 shore A hardness. It has high abrasion resistance and elasticity, and is resistant to aggressive skin fats.
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