Evonik, a German leader in the chemical industry, presented a new material for 3D printing in FDM technology – medical grade PEEK, which can be used for 3D printing of implants and other medical applications. The material is called VESTAKEEP i4 3DF and meets the requirements of the ASTM F2026 standard, which regulates the properties of PEEK for medical applications.
So far, milling technology has been the most popular method for creating medical implants from PEEK. According to Marc Knebel, head of the medical devices market segment at Evonik, the implementation into the world of 3D printing from medical PEEK opens new possibilities for personalizing implant geometry to increase patient comfort. As examples of fields of medicine that can express interest in the material, he gives orthopedics or maxillofacial surgery.
The material is characterized by biocompatibility, which goes hand in hand with the appropriate mechanical properties. To maintain strict medical standards, the filament is produced in a clean environment, where all material quality guidelines are followed. VESTAKEEP i4 3DF is the first 3D printing material based on PEEK on the market that can be successfully used for the production of implants. Earlier, Solvay conducted work on such material, but their material was allowed to come into contact with the tissue for no more than 24 hours.
The filament is available in spools of 250 or 500 grams. The filament diameter is 1.75 mm and according to the manufacturer, it is compatible with industrial system for 3D printing from thermoplastics due to the high melting point of the material.
Knebel adds that professional materials combined with high-quality additive manufacturing systems and software form the basis of the revolution that, through 3D printing, undergoes standard methods of producing medical implants. He emphasizes that their offer of medical 3D printing materials will be successively expanded.
Recently, Evonik announced the premiere of another 3D printing material – bioresorbable powder for additive manufacturing in SLS technology. The developed material was created with a view to creating biodegradable implants, which are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to implants manufactured using standard methods.