Himed and Lithoz Launch Center for Bioceramics 3D Printing

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Himed, a US manufacturer of bioceramic materials, and ceramics 3D printing leader Lithoz have announced a joint venture meant to combine their respective areas of expertise—the Bioceramics Center of Excellence (BCoE) at Himed’s headquarters in New York. This center aims to advance R&D in bioceramics for medical device manufacturers by integrating advanced analytical services to expedite rapid prototyping processes.

Since its founding in 1991, Himed has been dedicated to biomaterial coating characterization, starting with hydroxyapatite coatings and apatitic abrasives. Himed’s New York research and production facility provides raw biomaterials and customizable biocompatible coating and texturing solutions for use in medical devices, dental and orthopedic implants, prosthetics, and laboratory applications. The company’s MATRIX systems offer macro and micro surface texturing and bioactive coatings for improved osseointegration, while the high-volume production cell provides Type III color anodization for biocompatible implants. Additionally, Himed offers contract R&D services, providing analytical services and materials testing to support the development of new processes and products in biomaterial applications.

Lithoz CeraFab S65. Image courtesy of Lithoz.

With this in mind, the company’s partnership with Lithoz is a logical next step. The BCoE will extend Himed’s capabilities into rapid prototyping, leveraging Lithoz’s lithography-based ceramic manufacturing (LCM) technology. The center will offer a range of services, including design support and optimization, SEM imaging, material analysis and characterization, biomaterial customization, and bioceramic 3D printing using the Lithoz CeraFab S65 Medical printer.

“Lithoz’s technology is unlike anything else out there — they’ve solved some meaningful challenges in this field, and their printers can take you from concept all the way through production. That’s going to open up new avenues for invention in implant design,” says Dana Barnard, CEO of Himed.

Dr. Johannes Homa, CEO of Lithoz, says, “This new Bioceramics Center of Excellence will open up a new chapter in 3D-printed medical applications for North America! We are excited to be the technology partner enabling Himed’s bioceramic innovation – with the combination of Himed’s experience and Lithoz technology, new applications will certainly be enabled which are currently unthinkable.”

This development follows a strategic partnership announced last year between Lithoz and Himed, focusing on designing new slurries for Lithoz’s ceramic medical-grade 3D printers. The partnership is primed to take advantage of increased opportunity in healthcare and dental applications—especially implants—driven by increased life expectancy. In turn, the global bioceramic industry is projected to reach $10.2 billion by 2028, according to the partners. Similarly, the “Market Trends and Opportunities in Medical Devices; Prosthetics, Dental, Audiology,” report from Additive Manufacturing Research projects the 3D printed medical device market to reach $16.5 Billion by 2034.

“Before investing in a medical 3D printer,” explains Himed President Craig Rosenblum, “companies can effectively lease time on one, along with the support and materials expertise of Himed’s engineers and scientists supporting them from concept through optimization.”

The strategy Rosenblum mentions is typical of the additive industry, with many printer manufacturers relying on service facilities to introduce new clients to this advanced production technology as a gateway to potentially purchasing a system for use in-house. As a matter of fact, DyeMansion just announced the implementation of the same model but for post-processing of polymer 3D printed parts.

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