In a world first, materials supplier Evonik announced today that it has launched a 3D-printable implant-grade polyether ether ketone (PEEK) filament for medical applications. The new material allows custom plastic implants to be 3D-printed while meeting the requirements of ASTM F2026, the standard specification for PEEK polymers used in surgical implant applications.
|The natural-colored PEEK filament is wound on 250- or 500-gram spools suitable for direct use in standard fused filament fabrication 3D printers for PEEK materials. Image courtesy Evonik.|
The Vestakeep i4 3DF filament is based on Evonik’s viscous, high-performance Vestakeep i4 G. Biocompatible, biostable, and radiolucent, the filament is produced under cleanroom conditions and is subjected to stringent quality management standards for medical materials.
The high-performance material was developed for fused filament fabrication (FFF) technology. The natural-colored PEEK filament, which has a diameter of 1.75 mm, is wound on 250- or 500-gram spools suitable for direct use in standard FFF 3D printers for PEEK materials.
“For modern medical technology, the development of our first 3D-printable implant material opens up new opportunities for customizing patient treatments,” said Marc Knebel, who heads the Medical Devices & Systems market segment at Evonik. “Orthopedics and maxillofacial surgery are examples of areas where this could be applied.”
Evonik also offers a testing-grade version of its PEEK filament, which has identical properties to the implant grade but without the documentation needed for approval in medical technology applications. This offers a cost-effective way of adapting the processing characteristics of the high-performance plastic to a given 3D printer, said Evonik.
Evonik offers an extensive portfolio of GMP-grade biomaterials used in the 3D printing of medical device parts designed for temporary and permanent body contact. In addition to Vestakeep i4 3DF, the portfolio includes the Resomer line of bioresorbable filaments, powders, and granules for implantable medical devices.