Carbon, a Silicon Valley-based 3D manufacturing company, announced the release of Silicone (SIL 30), a soft, tear-resistant, biocompatible resin, opening up additive manufacturing applications for a range of medical and consumer products such as headphones, wristbands, and other various attachments for wearables. (According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the wearables market is expected to double by 2021 due to the increase in sales of smartwatches and smart clothing.)
One medical application involved stents for children. “We were investigating how to best create pediatric stents that can be easily switched out as a child grows, but found that traditional 3D printing methods and materials repeatedly failed due to the dynamic action of the airways,” said Dr. Robroy MacIver, Congenital Heart Surgeon at Children’s Minnesota. “Carbon’s SIL 30 material offers an isotropic, smooth finish with the durability to withstand such action in the trachea, while its Digital Light Synthesis technology allowed for the size, fine resolution, and robust-build quality required for such small airways. As a result, we were able to develop a durable, flexible device that can support many different deployment techniques for pediatric stent placement.”
Carbon worked with NAMSA, a leader in biocompatibility testing, to certify SIL 30 as well as six additional Carbon resins, including multiple resins that will be used in medical device manufacturing – another industry that has seen significant benefits from using 3D printing.
“Consumer goods and medical are two industries that show the most promise for using 3D printing for production at scale, which is why we’ve prioritized the development of novel materials like SIL 30,” said Carbon CEO and Co-founder Dr. Joseph DeSimone. “We now have seven biocompatible materials, more than double the amount of any other additive manufacturing company.”
In addition to SIL 30, the other six Carbon resins that have been certified biocompatible include:
- Cyanate Ester (CE 220): A highly temperature-resistant and stiff material similar to glass-filled nylon, used primarily for applications that need long-term thermal stability like under-the-hood automotive components, electronics assemblies, surgical instruments, and industrial products. CE has excellent dielectric properties for uses in high voltage transformers and radio frequency applications.
- Rigid Polyurethane (RPU 61): A versatile, tough, and rigid material comparable to ABS and used primarily for single-use surgical tools, housings, consumer, and industrial products.
- Rigid Polyurethane (RPU 70): Like RPU 61, a versatile, tough, and rigid material comparable to ABS. RPU 70 also has a UL 94 HB flame-resistance classification.
- Elastomeric Polyurethane (EPU 40): A highly elastic, tear-resistant, and resilient material comparable to TPU elastomer used primarily for cushioning, vibration isolation, gaskets, and seals for applications like surgical robotics, prosthetics, and diagnostic devices.
- Epoxy (EPX 81): A temperature-resistant and strong material comparable to glass-filled PBT used primarily for applications like electrical connectors.
- Urethane Methacrylate (UMA 90): A rigid material similar to conventional SLA resins that is suited for producing manufacturing jigs, fixtures, and general-purpose prototypes.