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3D Printing News Briefs, June 1, 2023: 3D Printed Medication, Medical Center, & More

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In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, we’re starting off with business, as Solukon announces new U.S. distribution partners. On to healthcare, Texas A&M University received a five-year NIH grant to advance 3D printed pediatric medications, and researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi developed a 3D printed wearable sweat sensor that monitors your health. Siam Cement Group used COBOD’s technology to make what it says is the world’s first 3D printed medical center. Finally, a research project led by Constructor University is working to develop and validate a 3D printed vertical-axis wind turbine.

Solukon Announces 5 U.S. Distribution Partners

Leading AM industrial depowdering provider Solukon, which introduced its SPR® (Smart Powder Recuperation) technology in 2015, has announced new strategic partnerships with five companies in the U.S., in order to strengthen its market position in the country and offer U.S. customers a local contact. These partnerships divide the sales area state by state, and on the West Coast, DMARK Corporation now represents Solukon in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The central portion of the U.S. is covered by Hartwig, Inc., which offers support to Idaho, Illinois, Utah, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and Louisiana.

New Solukon partner MAHAR Tool Supply Company, Inc. counts Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, and Mississippi in its distribution area, along with Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Finally, the northeast and southeast of the U.S. will be covered by Phillips Corporation, specifically Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Delaware, and Massachusetts. Nationwide, Portland-based company BahFed Corp supplies federal, state, and local government customers with Solukon depowdering stations.

TAMU Receives NIH Grant to 3D Print Pediatric Medications

Researchers will engineer dose-flexible antiviral products that are readily deployable in hospitals for pediatric medication needs. (Image: TAMU School of Pharmacy)

A team of researchers from Texas A&M University (TAMU) Irma Lerma Rangel School of Pharmacy received a $2.82 million grant to support infrastructure needed to help advance 3D printed pediatric medications. According to the School of Pharmacy Dean, Dr. Indra K. Reddy, this five-year award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the first RO1 grant of its kind, and the researchers, hailing from different academic units at TAMU, will engineer 3D printed, dose-flexible, antiviral products that can be easily deployed to hospitals for pediatric patients. 3D printing medications for children is tricky, as precise engineering of dosage forms is necessary, followed by pharmacokinetics and efficacy studies. That’s why the proposal for this project is for a multidisciplinary team.

“Many products are available for adults, not children, as it is not a great and profitable business for firms to make pediatric medications for few cases. Instead, a prescriber or pharmacist is forced to manipulate adult dosage forms to prepare pediatric dosages,” explained principal investigator Dr. Mansoor A. Khan, Vice Dean, Regents Professor of pharmaceutical sciences, and a Presidential Impact Fellow.

“Our children deserve better medications, and we are committed to providing it for them with advanced technologies.”

3D Printed Wearable Sweat Analysis Health Monitoring Device

The sweatainer on skin. (Image: University of Hawai’i at Mānoa)

Another interesting 3D printed research project comes from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Engineering, where researchers have developed a 3D printed wearable sensor that can analyze your sweat. Sweat holds important health information, and traditional collection methods press absorbent pads or narrow tubes against the skin and use straps or bands to capture sweat as it emerges, but wearable sensors are much easier to use; however, they are typically single-use. Thanks to 3D printing, this team’s “sweatainer” expands capability and capacity, using various sensors and offering a multi-draw method to collect multiple sweat samples for analysis. The system makes sweat collection and analysis easier and more efficient.

“3D-printing enables an entirely new design mode for wearable sweat sensors by allowing us to create fluidic networks and features with unprecedented complexity. With the sweatainer, we are utilizing 3D-printing to showcase the vast opportunities this approach enables for accessible, innovative and cost-effective prototyping of advanced wearable sweat devices,” said Department of Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Tyler Ray.

SCG & COBOD Announce World’s “First” 3D Printed Medical Center

The first 3D printed medical center in the world made by SCG in Thailand

A year ago, Siam Cement Group (SCG), the largest and oldest cement and building material company in Thailand and Southeast Asia, entered into a distribution partnership with COBOD International for its construction 3D printers. Now, SCG has completed what it says is not only the first, and largest, 3D printed building in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), but also the world’s first 3D printed medical center. The BOD2 concrete printer was used to construct the two-story building, which features a total floor area of 345 m2 and is located in Saraburi, Thailand. Additive construction was the only way to create the building’s unique design of wavy walls, and it was also designed specifically to support seismic loads. Additionally, the technology offers the added benefits of less waste, increased construction speed, and decreased labor onsite.

“Besides demonstrating SCG capability to build a two-story commercial building using the COBOD printer, the project’s highlight was to implement our research on a 3D printed structure,” explained Chalermwut Snguanyat, 3D printing & fabric concrete technology director from SCG. “In this building, we successfully implemented results from our collaborative studies with top-tier universities in Thailand for constructing a one-story 3D printed load-bearing structure and a two-story 3D printed non-load bearing structure. The design of the 3D printed medical center was approved by a senior professional engineer. The materials used in this building were SCG 3D printing mortars with strength classes of C75/80 and C30/35 for load-bearing and non-load-bearing 3D printed walls, respectively. As CPAC 3D printing solution under the SCG cement company umbrella, we aim to create best practices and standards for 3D printing construction. Moreover, our commitment is to help the construction industry become more sustainable and carbon-neutral through innovation and technology.”

Validating 3D Printed Wind Turbine for Energy Self-Sufficient Schools

Professor Uygun’s research group at Constructor University is developing vertical wind turbines and will produce them in its own 3D printer on campus in Bremen. (Image: Constructor University)

A new pilot project by Constructor University in Bremen and the County of Friesland in Northern Germany, called “Wind.EnergyAutonomous Schools in the Metropolitan Region Northwest,” hopes to have school buildings equipped with 3D printed vertical-axis wind turbines, for the goal of enabling energy self-sufficient schools. It’s more important then ever, during the current energy crisis, for schools to switch to renewable energy and decrease their high consumption. Unfortunately, solar panels are typically not efficient enough for high energy demands of such buildings, and horizontal wind turbines aren’t allowed. The Metropolitan Region Northwest, which considers project ideas focused on resource protection and efficiency and energy transformation, is funding the project, which will use the university’s large industrial delta 3D printer to produce proprietary vertical-axis wind turbines. These will be tested on campus, in hopes of creating a more sustainable energy source for schools in particular, as well as offering important experience and data for technology transfer.

“With this project, we are breaking new ground in urban energy generation on this scale for the first time, with the aim of making public properties energy self-sufficient,” said Dr. Yilmaz Uygun, a professor at Constructor University whose research group is leading the project. “After successful testing at the Hohenkirchen Secondary School, the project is to be scaled up easily and quickly so as to contribute to the energy transition.”

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