NewPro3D and Henkel’s Innovative DLP Process Helps Surgeons Prepare
Andrew Wheeler posted on January 31, 2020 |
New DLP process allows for faster and more precise medical 3D prints

Vancouver-based 3D printing company NewPro3D has entered a collaborative partnership with chemical company Henkel. According to the recent announcement by Henkel, the two companies will be developing 3D printing solutions for the medical industry. These are to include prosthetics and anatomical models for surgery and teaching purposes.

Henkel has a group dedicated towards material research called Open Materials Platform, which NewPro3D recently joined. NewPro3D specializes in a form of 3D printing known as digital light processing (DLP). DLP 3D printing uses digital micromirrors set up in an array on a semiconductor chip called the digital micromirror device. This device is also used in movie projectors and cell phones.

A 3D model is generated, optimized and sent to the DLP 3D printer. The printer has a DLP projector (with a relatively high lumen count) and projects the image of the model into a vat of liquid polymer.

The build plate begins close to the projection and moves downward, exposing the liquid polymer to more light. This action is repeated until the 3D model is fully formed. The vat is drained of liquid polymer and the 3D model is ready for post-processing and finishing techniques. One key advantage of DLP 3D printing is that it is faster and of higher resolution than other forms of 3D printing such as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF).

An illustration of NewPro3D’s Intelligent Liquid Interface. (Image courtesy of NewPro3D.)
An illustration of NewPro3D’s Intelligent Liquid Interface. (Image courtesy of NewPro3D.)

NewPro3D’s DLP-based process, Intelligent Liquid Interface (ILI), uses a transparent wettable membrane. This allows the DLP projector to move with more efficiency during layering, and could yield a faster manufacturing process for creating patient-specific anatomical models and other medical devices like custom prosthetics.

Henkel and NewPro3D will go to the MD&M [Medical Design and Manufacturing] West conference next month to showcase a 3D printed anatomical model of an infant’s skull. The skull was printed with Henkel’s resin and NewPro3D’s ILI DLP 3D printing. The model helped surgeons better understand a procedure to fix a child’s misaligned anterior mandible. Without the model, the surgeons may not have been able to create a patient-specific plan for the child as quickly as they did.

Bottom Line

This is one more example of how innovation and collaboration in 3D printing have helped surgeons create and practice a customized treatment plan for patients in need of serious care.

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