USA-based Carbon has announced the release of its SIL 30 silicone 3D printing resin as well as biocompatibility certification for seven of its resins—inclusive of SIL 30.
SIL 30 is claimed to be the first additive manufacturing (AM) material to combine biocompatibility, low-durometer and tear-resistance. Affording a high degree of softness and therefore comfort, it is especially suitable for consumer and medical skin-contact products, for example, headphones, wristbands and various attachments for wearables.
SIL 30 is expected to enable Carbon to target, and capitalize on the wearables market. According to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Device Tracker, the global wearables market will almost double by 2021, driven mostly by smart watches and smart clothing.
NAMSA—a USA-based CRO providing regulatory, laboratory, clinical and compliance services to medical device and healthcare product manufacturers—assisted Carbon in attaining biocompatibility certification for SIL 30 as well as six of its other resins, namely CE220 (cyanate ester) EPU 40 (elastomeric polyurethane), EPX 81 (epoxy), RPU61 (rigid polyurethane), RPU70 (rigid polyurethane) and UMA 90 (urethane methacrylate).
CE 220 is a stiff, highly temperature resistant material comparable to glass-filled nylon. It is primarily used for applications that require long-term thermal stability, such as electronic assemblies, surgical instruments, under-the-hood automotive components and industrial products. CE also possesses excellent dielectric properties, making it suitable for high-voltage and radio-frequency applications.
EPU 40 is a highly elastic, resilient and tear-resistant material comparable to thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). It is primarily used for cushioning, gaskets, seals and vibration isolation for applications, such as diagnostic devices, prosthetics and surgical robotics.
EPX 81 is a strong and temperature-resistant material comparable to glass-filled polybutylene terephthalate (PBT). It is primarily used for products such as electrical connectors.
RPU61 is a rigid, tough and versatile material comparable to acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). It is primarily used for single-use surgical tools, housings and consumer and industrial products.
RPU70, like RPU61, is a rigid, tough and versatile material comparable to ABS but also has a UL 94 HB flame-resistance classification.
UMA 90 is a rigid material comparable to conventional stereolithography (SLA) resins. It is especially suitable for producing general-purpose prototypes, fixtures and jigs.
Several of the aforementioned resins are suitable for use in the medical device industry. Children’s Minnesota—a USA-based free-standing pediatric health system—had been investigating how best to create pediatric tracheal stents that could be easily swapped out as a child grows but found traditional 3D printing technologies and materials inadequate owing to the dynamic action of the airways. According to Dr. Robroy MacIver, congenital heart surgeon at Children's Minnesota, Carbon’s digital light synthesis (DLS) technology delivers the fine resolution, robust build quality and size required for small airways, and its SIL 30 affords an isotropic, smooth finish as well as the durability necessary to stand up to the rigors of the trachea. ‘As a result, we were able to develop a durable, flexible device that can support many different deployment techniques for pediatric stent placement,’ he said.
Jason Rolland, vice president (VP) of materials at Carbon, commented: ‘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. 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.’