Tantalum used to additively manufacture biomedical implants

February 5, 2016

Metalysis, a metal powder technology company based in Rotherham, UK, has collaborated with the UK’s TWI in Cambridge, to demonstrate the feasibility of its tantalum powder in metal Additive Manufacturing for biomedical applications such as bespoke hip joints. The joint study successfully produced both uniform and randomised tantalum lattice structures that are bio-inert, replicate the structural stiffness of bone and allow for extensive integration with bone cells, so that the new joint is readily accepted by the body.

“It is tremendous to be partnering with TWI, a company that has so much knowledge in the manufacturing and medical industries. TWI has great expertise, particularly in the use of lasers in Additive Manufacturing, which we hope will help to bring individual joint replacements into the mainstream of mass manufacture,” stated Dion Vaughan, Chief Executive of Metalysis.  

Metalysis has developed a process that produces metal powders directly from their respective oxides in a single step, drastically lowering the environmental impact of its manufacture. The innovative process is not only cost-competitive, but also produces perfectly spherical metal powders of uniform size so that when used in metal Additive Manufacturing, the end product is structurally consistent and allows for an improvement  on the as-built surface finish.  

“We have already seen the great success Metalysis has had printing automotive parts. Our analysis suggests these metals are incredibly versatile and highly suited to the medical industry. Metal 3D-printed hip replacements could be a huge step forward, allowing patients to have a tailor-made joint by scanning their other hip and matching it with a metal 3D-printed replacement, rather than being restricted to the choice of standard sizes now available,” added Richard Pargeter, a technology fellow at TWI.

This study has proved that the durability and inertness of this highly versatile metal are retained through the production process. It has demonstrated the significant potential of creating lattice structures using  selective laser melting for use in hip joints, implants and other new biomedical products that will both benefit patient wellbeing and bring cost savings to the wider market.

Since the launch of its commercial plant in 2015, Metalysis has been supplying tantalum powder to its clients globally, working in collaboration with LPW Technology to serve its Additive Manufacturing customers.

www.twi-global.com       |      www.metalysis.com 

twi-metalysis

 Examples of the lattice structures created under the project.

The structure on the left is randomised, the one on the right uniform

 

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF
 

Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Revolution, not evolution: General Motors on building an AM culture and the AM Dream Machine
  • The power of Additive Manufacturing in the hands of artists: Public works to small batch production
  • Growing momentum and broadening recognition: A status update on the rise of Electron Beam PBF
  • Improving carbon capture efficiency through Additive Manufacturing in the race for a liveable climate
  • The System of AM Systems: How Metal Powder Works’ in-process powder production could change metal AM
  • The next generation: Using metal AM to drive emissions reduction and educate the engineers of the future
  • Advances in the AM of refractory metals and hard materials at the 20th Plansee Seminar
  • Additive Manufacturing needs you: Why you and your company should get involved in standards development

The world of metal AM to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of Metal AM magazine, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter.

Sign up

News from the industry…

    News from the industry…

    Discover our magazine archive…

    The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:

    • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
    • Articles on technology and application trends
    • Information on materials developments
    • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
    • International industry news

    All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

    Browse the archive

    Looking for AM machines, metal powders or part manufacturing services?

    Discover suppliers of these and more in our comprehensive advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of Metal AM magazine.

    • AM machines
    • Process monitoring & calibration
    • Heat treatment & sintering
    • HIP systems & services
    • Pre- & post-processing technology
    • Powders, powder production and analysis
    • Part manufacturers
    • Consulting, training & market data
    Download PDF
    Share via
    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap