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Carbon fibre reinforced PEEK filament for long-term 3D printed medical implants

Evonik Industries (Germany) announced that it is introducing a new carbon-fibre reinforced PEEK filament, for use in 3D printed medical implants. This smart biomaterial can be processed in common extrusion-based 3D printing technologies such as fused filament fabrication (FFF). The specialty chemicals company will present the new product for the first time at coming next medical technology and 3D printing related trade shows.

Dubbed VESTAKEEP® iC4612 3DF and VESTAKEEP® iC4620 3DF, the two available filaments feature 12% and 20% carbon fibre content, respectively. The two grades offer a choice of material depending on the required strength and flex properties of 3D printed implants such as bone plates and other reconstructive prostheses.

Evonik’s VESTAKEEP® iC4612 3DF and VESTAKEEP® iC4620 3DF offer great benefits from the strength from the high carbon-fibre content, matched with the ductility of its PEEK component. Additional product benefits include the ability to define the alignment of the carbon fibres during the 3D printing process, high bio-compatibility for metal allergy-patients, and the no x-rays artifacts.

Designing Smart Biomaterials for A Life Beyond Limits

With a diameter of 1.75 mm, VESTAKEEP® iC4612 3DF and VESTAKEEP® iC4620 3DF are supplied on 500g and 1,000g spools that can be used directly in standard FFF/FDM 3D printers for PEEK materials. The filament is subjected to strict quality management for medical materials.

“No other application field showcases more the advantages of 3D printing, such as individualization or design freedom, than medical technology,” says Knebel. “In trauma applications, for instance, 3D printed solutions offer an enormous time advantage over traditionally manufactured medical devices. It is conceivable that patient-specific solutions can be manufactured within two or three days, significantly improving the recovery phase.”

Over the last five years, Evonik has been gradually developing new PEEK-based filaments for medical 3D printing applications and thus setting material quality standards in medical technology with additive manufacturing. The current portfolio includes different grades for long-term and short-term body contact applications:

 Long-term body contact applications:

VESTAKEEP® i4 3DF – Implant grade (long-term)

VESTAKEEP® i4 3DF-T – Test and development grade

VESTAKEEP® iC4800 3DF – Osteoconductive implant grade

VESTAKEEP® iC4612 3DF – Carbon-fiber reinforced (12%) implant grade

VESTAKEEP® iC4620 3DF – Carbon-fiber reinforced (20%) implant grade

Short-term body contact applications:

VESTAKEEP® Care M40 3DF – Medical care grade 

Evonik has been the world’s leading manufacturer of smart biomaterials for additive manufacturing technologies for more than 20 years. The specialty chemicals company offers the industry’s most extensive portfolio of 3D-printable biomaterials for medical technology, which can be used to manufacture medical device parts designed for temporary and permanent body contact. In addition to PEEK-based filaments of the VESTAKEEP® brand, the portfolio includes the RESOMER® line of bioresorbable filaments, powders, and granules for implantable medical devices.