Linde and 3D Medlab to discover how atmospheric conditions can be optimized for the production of 3D Printed lattice structures

"spine cage" by 3D Medlab - produced using Linde AM technology

Linde and 3D Medlab will find out how atmospheric conditions can be optimized for the production of complex lattice structures.

Announced this morning, the new research will pave the way to new additive manufacturing solutions for the production of medical parts.

Linde has dedicated its activities in the AM industry, to addressing issues raised by gases in the production environment. The company has supported several companies across demanding industries such as aerospace. Together with 3D Medlab, a medical tech company that leverages additive manufacturing, both companies will address this issue in the medical industry.

The production of complex lattice structures in the medical industry

Professionals from the medical industry handle multifaceted components every day. These components mimic human body real parts and allow for a better assimilation into the patient’s own bone and tissue structure. When they are well utilized, they lead to fewer rejections and quicker healing times.

When produced by AM technologies, these parts often suffer from the impact of gases in the building environment. Indeed, impurities that remain in the chamber, even once purged, can have a damaging impact on the 3D Printed part.

Any small variations in oxygen content can influence the mechanical or chemical properties of materials that are sensitive to gases, therefore the properties of the end-part. This situation is sometimes a recurring issue when metallic powders such as titanium and aluminum alloys are processed by the printer.

As part of this collaboration, both companies will focus on atmospheric conditions optimization with titanium alloy Ti-6AI-4V. Several trials will be performed with a new helium/argon gas mixture, that Linde has specifically designed for the project. According to the gases and engineering company, when it is used with the company’s ADDvance O2 precision, the materials enables a smoother and cleaner process.

ADDvance O2 precision is a system that enables to measure and control oxygen and humidity levels in the printing process. Described as one of the most mature systems in its products category, 3D Medlab has first used the powder cabinet to protect their parts from exposure to ambient air and humidity.

 “Our experience with Linde shows that they are as committed to the same high standards of precision and excellence in additive manufacturing that we are,” said Gaël Volpi, CEO, 3D Medlab. “Full regulatory compliance is a fundamental cornerstone in our engineering and design process and our customers trust us to ensure all proper measures and controls are in place.

This collaboration is the beginning of a long series of efforts that will focus on improving the use of other sensitive materials to gazes in the printing process. Next on this pipeline will be nickel titanium (also known as nitinol), a suitable candidate for next generation stents.

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