Optomec LENS hybrid system used to manufacture dissolvable metal

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Optomec, a leading global supplier of production-grade additive manufacturing (AM) systems for 3D Printed Metals unveiled details of how the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is using a LENS Hybrid Controlled Atmosphere System to develop dissolvable magnesium components that will have broad-reaching implications in the design and manufacture of next-generation medical implants. This ground-breaking work will enable 3D printed, patient-specific implants with controlled time to dissolve eliminating the need for second surgeries and thus also reducing risks, costs and suffering for patients.

“We are proud to be the first customer of an Optomec LENS Hybrid Controlled Atmosphere System, the only commercially-available machine to provide hybrid manufacturing capabilities for reactive metals,” said Dr. Michael Sealy, Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Materials Engineering at UNL and a pioneer in advanced manufacturing research.

Currently, medical implants – such as plates and screws – are made of titanium or stainless steel, which are permanent structures that often have high complication rates and require a second surgery for removal. By using the LENS Hybrid Controlled Atmosphere System to print patient-specific magnesium implants with a controlled time to dissolve, Dr. Sealy’s team is helping eliminate the need for second surgeries and thus also reducing risks, costs and suffering for patients.

The LENS Hybrid CA System enables Sealy and his team to couple LENS deposition technology with layered surface treatments to print 3D metal components in magnesium with controlled degradation. The ability to control disintegration of a structure is a highly sought-after design capability – not only for applications in orthopedics, cardiology, and urology but also for other applications areas such as lightweight aerospace and automotive structures.

The Optomec LENS 3D Hybrid Controlled Atmosphere System is the industry’s first and only atmosphere-controlled system for additive and subtractive processing of metals, including titanium and aluminum. Optomec LENS hybrid technology combines a rugged CNC automation platform with industry-proven LENS technology, lowering acquisition cost to bring metal additive manufacturing capabilities to industrial markets. This week, Optomec announced the LENS 860 Machine Tool Series which have larger build volumes and support higher laser power.

 

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