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Braskem announces philanthropic venture to print prosthetic upper limb devices

Braskem teamed up with e-NABLE, a global community of digital humanitarian volunteers who print hands and arms for those in need, in a philanthropic venture. The company is using its Pittsburgh Innovation and Technology Center to print polypropylene prosthetic upper limbs.

Braskem’s team and production facility are an anchor for the e-NABLE community. The range of manufacturing services that Braskem can provide, at no charge, to those in need bolster’s e-NABLE’s global network of 3D printers, some of whom are hobbyists associated with one of e-NABLE’s chapters.

Braskem E-NABLE's prosthetics
E-NABLE’s prosthetics

Jason Vagnozzi, Braskem Additive Manufacturing Leader, North America, commented, “On behalf of the entire Braskem team, we are incredibly honored to be partnering with e-NABLE around launching the new Braskem e-NABLE chapter with our world-class innovation and technology team in Pittsburgh. The visionary founders at e-NABLE have created a global network of digital humanitarians that are leveraging the latest in material science and technologies to tackle some of the most pressing medical needs for prosthetic devices, particularly in underserved communities that often lack adequate resources and access to proper medical care. The Braskem team can now bring its polymer science expertise in polypropylene, the primary input to the 3D printed PP Phoenix V3 prosthetic hand, to the benefit of well-deserving children and adults in Pennsylvania or anywhere around the globe. We couldn’t be more excited to kick-off our new e-NABLE Chapter and to start helping change lives for the better.”

Bob Rieger, e-NABLE’s Chapter Coordinator, endorsed Brasken’s philanthropic initiative, “We are excited that Braskem has joined the global e-NABLE community as an official chapter! Indeed, Braskem’s expertise in materials (specifically polypropylene) and 3D printing will bring benefit to the entire community of some 8,000 volunteers and 177 chapters in 51 countries. We look forward to learning more about these materials, and having our volunteers use and maximize their application in helping underserved people and communities with upper body 3D printed prostheses.”

Polypropylene is the optimal material for 3D printing of the e-NABLE Phoenix V3 prosthetic hand because polypropylene is lightweight making the prosthetics easy to hold all day, chemically resistant to household cleaners and chemicals, as well as extremely durable, allowing the device to withstand heavy day-to-day wear and tear. Other 3D printing filament materials are heavier, can dissolve when in contact with certain chemicals like acetone/nail polish remover, as well as have a tendency to crack or break easily, especially in cold weather. Braskem’s polypropylene 3D printing material is also well suited for the prosthetic fitting process, as it can be heated and custom formed for each individual prosthetic device user, allowing for the most comfortable fit possible.

Braskem selected to be certified to produce the e-NABLE Phoenix V3 prosthetic hand as it is one of the most commonly produced e-NABLE prosthetic devices. Looking forward, Braskem will seek to gain additional certifications to produce other 3D printed polypropylene-based prosthetic models to expand the range of people who can be supported through the Braskem e-NABLE Chapter’s philanthropic activities.

Adam Strömbergsson

Adam is a legal researcher and writer with a background in law and literature. Born in Montreal, Canada, he has spent the last decade in Ottawa, Canada, where he has worked in legislative affairs, law, and academia. Adam specializes in his pursuits, most recently in additive manufacturing. He is particularly interested in the coming international and national regulation of additive manufacturing. His past projects include a history of his alma mater, the University of Ottawa. He has also specialized in equity law and its relationship to judicial review. Adam’s current interest in additive manufacturing pairs with his knowledge of historical developments in higher education, copyright and intellectual property protections.

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