Evonik launched a 3D-printable PEEK (polyether ether ketone) filament as an implant-grade material for medical applications.
This material lets designers develop custom-made plastic implants through additive manufacturing processes that meet the requirements of ASTM F2026 (the standard specification for PEEK polymers for surgical implant applications).
Sold under the brand name VESTAKEEP i4 3DF, this PEEK filament is an implant-grade material based on VESTAKEEP i4 G, a highly viscous, high-performance polymer from Evonik.
The material offers biocompatibility, biostability, x-ray transparency, and easy handling. The filament is produced under cleanroom conditions and then subjected to stringent quality management standards for medical materials.
The high-performance material was developed for fused filament fabrication (FFF) technology. The natural-colored PEEK filament, which has a diameter of 1.75 mm, is wound on 250- or 500-gram spools suitable for direct use in standard FFF 3D printers for PEEK materials.
“For modern medical technology, the development of our first 3D-printable implant material opens up new opportunities for customizing patient treatments. Orthopedics and maxillofacial surgery are examples of areas where this could be applied,” says Marc Knebel, who heads the Medical Devices & Systems market segment at Evonik.
In addition to its implant grade, Evonik also offers a testing-grade version of its PEEK filament. The term refers to a class of material having the exact same product properties as the implant grade, but without the documentation needed for approval in medical technology applications. This offers a cost-effective way of adapting the processing characteristics of the high-performance plastic to a given 3D printer.
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