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3D printer for medical devices

07 July 2020

Trumpf's recently announced ruPrint 2000 3D printer lends itself to medical engineering and other applications with exacting standards and quality.

Trumpf experts have revamped the system so inert gas now flows through it back to front. This enhances printed parts’ quality. In another new development, the operator can now remove excess powder from the component right there in the system rather than having to take it out and unpack it at a separate station, as in the past. This is easier and saves time when dealing with the smaller build chambers of 3D printers such as the TruPrint 2000. The newly designed machine now processes the printing powder in an inert gas environment, which prevents contaminants from infiltrating the powder circuit. This is a key advantage for sensitive medical devices etc.

“With the TruPrint 2000, we are showing that TRUMPF puts the needs of AM-focused industries first – that is, the aerospace, automotive, mechanical engineering, tool and mould making, and the medical and dental engineering industries. The TruPrint 2000 enables manufacturers to take advantages of additive manufacturing’s benefits – particularly medical and dental engineering companies,” says Klaus Parey, managing director Trumpf Additive Manufacturing.

Productivity at low cost

The TruPrint 2000 features the Multilaser design. Two 300-watt lasers working in tandem illuminate the 3D printer’s entire build chamber to boost the system’s productivity. Taking the same approach as for the TruPrint 1000, Trumpf development engineers reduced the TruPrint 2000 laser’s focal diameter to 55 micrometers to print components with smoother surfaces, enhanced quality and intricate grid structures. The TruPrint 2000 is perfectly at home printing parts out of titanium, a material that figures prominently in medical devices. Companies do not need a separate unpacking station, so they also save money with this printer. “The machine’s new design brings the benefits of lean manufacturing to users. It requires fewer add-ons, so the entry-level investment is lower for companies that want to get into AM,” says Florian Krist, product manager at Trumpf Additive Manufacturing.

Digital monitoring

Users enjoy the benefits of automated powder bed and melt pool quality monitoring. In the event of an error, the system notifies the operator, who can then take remedial action. Another great benefit is an end-to-end documentation trail that corroborates the quality of the printing process. This is a key prerequisite for the additive manufacturing of medical devices.

Getting implants to patients that much faster Trumpf has already used the new machine to print interbody cages, which are implanted to add stability to the spine. These can be inserted as a placeholder between two vertebrae to restore the vertebral segment’s natural height. The lasers’ small focal diameter lends itself to fabricating the implants’ intricate structures. Healthy bone tissue adheres well to these structures. It takes this new system just 24 hours to produce 19 spinal implants. It not only serves medical engineering companies well; it is also an excellent choice for dental applications and tool and mould making.

With 300 watts of laser power, it has no trouble handling standard materials such as cobalt-chromium alloys. With that kind of performance, it can readily fabricate dental casts as well as injection-moulded parts with complex internal cooling channels.