New PEEK Filament Announced for 3D Printed Implants
Evonik Industries AG, headquartered in Essen, Germany, has developed VESTAKEEP Care M40 3DF, a new 3D-printable PEEK (polyetheretherketone) biomaterial for medical applications which require body contact up to 30 days. The high-performance polymer can be processed in extrusion-based 3D printing technologies such as fused filament fabrication or fused deposition modeling.
VESTAKEEP Care M40 3DF, part of Evonik’s "Care Grade" line, features biocompatibility, excellent temperature and chemical resistance, very good sterilizability, and easy handling.
"Following the commercial success of our VESTAKEEP® i4 3DF filament for 3D printing long-term permanent implants, we are now expanding the possibilities of modern medical technology for the individual treatment of patients with this new Care product," says Marc Knebel, head of the Medical Devices and Systems market segment at Evonik.
"This year we plan to launch an innovative PEEK-based filament with osteoconductive properties allowing bone cells to adhere to implants more quickly. Our goal is to revolutionize medical technology by offering innovative material solutions."
OTW asked Knebel to describe how the high-performance polymer is both extrusion-based and 3D printed. Knebel explained, “The material in this process is a polymer filament that is supplied by a roll. A print head liquefies the material in a manner similar to a hot-melt glue gun. As a result, components are created layer by layer out of liquid polymer. A second print head adds support material, which it deposits into cavities and at overhangs, for example, because the component has to be supported in these areas during the printing process. This support material is removed after the component is finished.”
“VESTAKEEP Care M40 3DF is a filament extruded from natural colored, high viscosity VESTAKEEP Care M40 G PEEK. The material is designed for 3D printing of medical devices with up to 30 days body contact. The product impresses with its biocompatibility, excellent temperature and chemical resistance, very good sterilizability, and easy handling. The biocompatibility of the base resin has been tested following ISO 10993-1 recommendations for medical devices with up to 30 days of body contact and USP Class VI.”
“There is now a material available for short term contact applications such as surgical tools which can be in contact with the body for up to 30 days. With PEEK it is a material which can act as a metal replacement. The fused filament fabrication technology will help to bring ideas into a medical device with new design options which are outside of the possibilities of injection molding and machining. Parts can be designed in patient specific one-piece solutions up to midsize quantities of several hundreds.”