3D printing company Carbon introduces biocompatible silicone-based material for medical and wearables applications

3D technology company Carbon (Redwood City, CA) today announced the release of SIL 30, a soft, tear-resistant, biocompatible silicone-based resin, opening up additive manufacturing applications for a range of medical and consumer products such as headphones, wristbands and other attachments for wearables. With this new material, Carbon claims to have the potential to revolutionize manufacturing for the wearables market. According to International Data Corporation, the wearables market is expected to double by 2021 due to the increase in sales of smart watches and clothing.

Carbon worked with biocompatibility testing company NAMSA to certify SIL 30 as well as six additional resins, including multiple resins that will be used in medical device manufacturing.

3D-printed headphone pads made from Carbon's SIL 30 material
Headphone pads fabricated using Carbon's SIL-30 material. 

“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.”

“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 innovative 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.”

In addition to SIL 30, the other six Carbon resins that have been certified biocompatible include:

  • Cyanate Ester (CE 220), a 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. The material’s dielectric properties make it suitable for use in high-voltage transformers and radio-frequency applications.
  • Rigid polyurethane (RPU 61) is a versatile, tough, and rigid material comparable to ABS and is used primarily for single-use surgical tools, housings, and consumer and industrial products.
  • Rigid polyurethane (RPU 70) is similar to RPU 61 with a UL 94 HB flame-resistance classification.
  • Elastomeric polyurethane (EPU 40), a highly elastic, tear-resistant, and resilient material comparable to TPU elastomer, is used primarily for cushioning, vibration isolation, gaskets, and seals for applications like surgical robotics, prosthetics and diagnostic devices. 
  • Epoxy (EPX 81) is 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, is suited for producing manufacturing jigs, fixtures and general-purpose prototypes.

“For several years now, Carbon’s materials scientists have been aggressively working to create the broadest possible range and depth of photopolymer materials with exceptional surface quality, mechanical properties tuned for production and, now, biocompatibility,” said Jason Rolland, Vice President, Materials. “We engage closely with our customers to understand their individual requirements as we develop new production-quality materials, so the range of materials that can be used with our M Series 3D printers and Digital Light Synthesis technology will continue to grow extensively.”

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