The second application described by Taylor—a non-vascular stent—illustrates that additive manufacturing has the capability to produce sufficiently strong parts using sophisticated materials.
The device had to be “strong and flexible so it could be implanted and work with the body, and it had to be printed with high fidelity,” said Taylor. “The bioresorbable stent could not be molded or extruded, because the customer potentially wanted the device to be custom tailored. And we would get bonus points if we could make a scaffold that could support tissue in-growth.”
A PLA and Lactoflex 7415 co-polymer was selected for the project partly because of its strength in the build direction. “You print in a plane and move the system up one level, so the adhesion between the planes is critical in terms of strength.”
Taylor took special pride in the company’s development of a porous structure, with 10- to 20-micron pores distributed throughout the device.
The finished device is scheduled to go into animal studies in the next few weeks, added Taylor.
He declined to identify the application other than to say that the stent was a non-vascular product.
Poly-Med has more than a quarter-century of experience developing bioresorbable materials and has been granted more than 130 patents for specialty polymers, gels, meshes. fibers and composites.