Chemical company Evonik has debuted a new 3D printing filament: the first medical-grade PEEK material that can be used for implant production and other medical applications. The high performance filament, called VESTAKEEP i4 3DF, meets the requirements of ASTM F2026, the standard specification for PEEK polymers for implants.
The new PEEK filament is based on Evonik’s existing VESTAKEEP i4 G material and is characterized by high viscosity, biocompatibility, biostability and x-ray transparency. To maintain medical standards, the new filament is produced in a clean room environment and undergoes extensive quality management standards. It can reportedly be used to produce orthopedic or maxillofacial implants, among others.
“For modern medical technology, the development of our first 3D printable implant material opens up new opportunities for customizing patient treatments,” commented Marc Knebel, head of the Medical Devices & Systems market segment at Evonik. “Orthopedics and maxillofacial surgery are examples of areas where this could be applied. Innovative high-performance materials like Evonik’s VESTAKEEP PEEK—along with highly complex hardware and software, and the perfect match between materials and machines—form the basis for a sustainable 3D printing revolution in medical technology. Therefore, we will successively expand our product portfolio of 3D printable biomaterials.”
The material is the first PEEK-based filament on the market that can be used for implant applications; in 2018, Solvay introduced medical-grade additive manufacturing materials KetaSpire PEEK (NT1 HC), KetaSpire PEEK (CF10 HC) and Radel PPSU (NT1 HC), however these materials were graded for limited contact medical applications with less than 24 hour bodily fluid or tissue contact.
VESTAKEEP i4 3DF is available as a natural-colored filament with a diameter of 1.75 mm. Available in spools of 250 or 500 grams, the high performance medical material is compatible with fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printers with PEEK processing capabilities. The PEEK filament expands Evonik’s portfolio of medical 3D printing materials, which also includes RESOMER bioresorbable filaments and powders.
Evonik has also today announced a new testing-grade version of the PEEK filament, which has the same properties as VESTAKEEP i4 3DF, but does not have the documentation required for medical applications. The lower-cost testing-grade filament was released to enable customers to adapt process characteristics for the material to any 3D printer in a cost efficient way.