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A polypropylene-like material suited for 3D printing medical and wearable devices has been introduced by materials supplier Henkel in collaboration with Nex3D, a maker of stereolithography-based 3D printers.

Norbert Sparrow

July 22, 2020

2 Min Read
3D-printed door opener

A polypropylene-like material suited for 3D printing biocompatible medical and wearable devices has been introduced by materials supplier Henkel in collaboration with Nex3D, a maker of stereolithography-based 3D printers. The commercially available xMED412 is entirely based on the Loctite MED412 material and is covered by all of its associated clearances, tests, and certifications, said Henkel.

The medical-grade plastic is described as a strong, durable photopolymer with mechanical attributes similar to polypropylene in terms of elongation, impact strength, and compression strength. The xMED412 parts printed on Nexa3D’s NXE400 require post processing and cleaning in accordance with the company’s recommendations and can be machined, tapped, or polished to desired production finishes.

The two companies developed and tested several approved workflows on the NXE400 3D printer, which are designed to unleash the full potential of xMED412’s physical properties and biocompatibility, said Ken Kisner, who leads Henkel’s innovation department for 3D printing. “Nexa3D and Henkel have provided a digital manufacturing solution for a growing number of medical devices, athletic wearables, and personalized audio products. Especially with regard to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are pleased that nasopharyngeal swabs manufactured with xMED412 on the NXE400 . . . have already been cleared through clinical trials and are in compliance with ISO 10993 testing and FDA Class I exempt classification,” said Kisner.

3D-printed medical connectors

Stiffness and dimensional stability are important properties in medical connectors. Image courtesy Henkel.

California-based Nexa3D joined Henkel’s open platform of material partners in April 2020. The companies’ collective ambition is to develop a portfolio of co-branded performance photopolymers that can leverage Nexa3D’s leading print speed, large build volume, and intelligent resin management technology, said Nexa3D Chief Operating Officer Izhar Medalsy. In the United States, Nexa3D said that it was able to quickly qualify and scale up single printer production capacity to 5400 nasal swabs a day. The company is also printing ventilator parts and other medical device components, including venturis and connectors, at productivity and scale.

3D-printed door opener

3D-printed hands-free door openers help prevent the spread of infections. Image courtesy Henkel.

To advance the miniaturization of biocompatible medical and wearable devices, design engineers are incorporating new materials into device designs for added product lifecycle flexibility, said Henkel. Critical components in medical devices often need to bend and flex for use on or near a patient’s body, and parts printed on the NXE400 using xMED412 achieve these levels of performance. 

Both the NXE400 printer and xMED412 material are available for purchase through Nexa3D’s network of resellers.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.


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