Advances in 3D printing technology are being implemented across the globe. When it comes to the healthcare system, the emergent technology is changing how providers treat patients and is a driving force behind personalized care, fueling a new era wherein the advanced technology plays a central role within the medical field. Not only can patients undergo surgery with a 3D printed implant created precisely for them, we are also nearing the delivery of 3D printed customized drug tablets and are leveraging 3D printers to address the ongoing global health crisis.
In the battle against COVID-19, 3D printer companies specializing in a range of services pivoted their technology and designs to support relief efforts, mass-producing medical products essential for providers in pandemic. One of the more disruptive and transformative companies helping with the production of equipment sorely in need is B9Creations. The 3D printing solutions provider played an integral role in producing shells for ventilator masks and nasal swabs, among other in-demand products.
To call attention to the critical need for continued advancement and adoption of 3D printing solutions to drive more agile and personalized care, Informa Markets – Engineering, the organizers of the industry-leading Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) and BIOMEDevice events and publisher of MD+DI, will present MD&M | BIOMEDigital, a new virtual conference and exhibition for medical device engineers and manufacturers driving progress and innovation in medtech and biotechnology.
Taking place April 6 and 7, the virtual event will provide a unique meeting opportunity for the global community featuring a virtual expo floor with more than 100 companies driving frontline product innovation. The conference will include a robust agenda offering technical sessions curated around today’s challenges, from integrating new materials into the 3D printing process to showcasing innovations in micro-molding medical devices.
Register here and access exhibitor profiles, exclusive networking opportunities, and technical sessions that matter to you.
I recently spoke with Dani Mason, VP of marketing and communications at B9Creations. The company will be exhibiting at MD&M | BIOMEDigital and shared a sneak peek into what attendees can look forward to learning about at their virtual booth.
As an industry leader in additive manufacturing, your cutting-edge 3D printing technology has greatly supported the medical community amid-pandemic. Can you speak to how B9Creations responded to the need for PPE and other medical-related products?
Mason: Amid the pandemic, B9Creations, a global manufacturer of 3D printers, launched a COVID-19 response initiative to produce masks for non-medical essential workers at companies nationwide, offer 3D printing and logistics services for businesses experiencing supply chain or labor disruption, and create an online global network connecting businesses in need with partners who can help.
We responded to the need for PPE by partnering with telecommunications companies to 3D print reusable protective masks for their essential personnel. B9Creations also partnered with healthcare providers to additively manufacture nasal swabs to help with the nationwide shortage.
During the pandemic, B9Creations opened up a new service bureau arm to offer on-demand 3D printing services to businesses whose current additive manufacturing or injection molding services had been shut down or who could not access their 3D printers because of isolation measures requiring they work from home. We also provide logistics and shipping for impacted companies.
Additionally, B9Creations created an online network where businesses and individuals with excess capacity, time, and talent can help others with various services, from design to production.
Above: B9Creations's 3D printed mask on build table.
How has the pandemic impacted the 3DP industry, and what resulting changes will we see in the future?
Mason: Global events, like the pandemic, accelerate trends. Thus, far from being a 2020 anomaly, supply chain resiliency, onshoring manufacturing, and just-in-time production for products in critical industries will continue to grow in importance in 2021—as will the role additive manufacturing plays in the solution.
SME Media surveyed more than 700 manufacturing professionals across industries ranging from aerospace to defense, industrial, medical, and more to understand what investments companies plan to make post-pandemic. Additive manufacturing was one of the top four investments in every industry surveyed and one of the top two in 55% of sectors surveyed. That’s a clear indicator that a key trend in our industry will be customers shifting demand from industry-agnostic 3D printers to industry-tailored additive production platforms. At B9Creations, we believe in that trend so strongly that we’ve launched an entire division, B9[X], where X is the variable the customer defines. This division focuses solely on meeting industry- and customer-specific needs with custom solutions, from hardware, software, and materials to services and Lean, regulatory, and additive manufacturing expertise.
In addition to additive manufacturing, AI and machine learning and digital security will be key emerging technologies for the coming decade.
2020 has shown how critical it is for companies, government, healthcare, educational institutions, and even individuals to continually adapt and make decisions based on complex information changing in real-time. This nearly limitless quantity of available data and interconnectivity between people and devices and device-to-device necessitates robust AI models that can analyze large sets of complex data to enable organizations to identify profitable opportunities potential risks quickly.
AI and machine learning will also be critical in cementing additive manufacturing as a production tool with equal capability and credibility to other production methods (molding, milling, etc.). However, as both AI and AM technology matures and companies transfer digital files to print locally, digital security will also be paramount.
You are exhibiting at the upcoming MD&M BIOMEDigital virtual event. What products and services can attendees look forward to seeing and learning about at the company’s booth?
Mason: B9Creations has recently launched its new larger-format, industrial, and medical-grade 3D printer line. With an expanded build envelope of 124.8 x 70.2 x 127 mm, the B9 Core 5 Series XL and IEC 60601-1 medical equipment compliant B9 Core 5 Series Med XL are powered by patent-pending FAST technology to enable volume production with the highest fidelity to CAD models by delivering effective resolution finer than 25 µm – all in a field-deployable platform requiring no special ventilation or power source to enable on-demand production anywhere. This larger-format printer line joins the B9 Core 530, B9 Core 550, and B9 Core Med 500.
Available for the first time in both 405 and 385 nm light engine configurations, the printers also come with a suite of engineering and ISO 10993 biocompatible materials, open material platforms, larger automated post-processing units, and new streamlined print preparation, management, and monitoring software, FAST Powered by B9Create 2.0 Pioneer Edition.
B9Creations has also expanded its biocompatible and engineering resin suite to include these NEW materials:
- BioRes – Silicone: Offering a combination of biocompatibility, high precision, surface finish, and tear resistance, our medical-grade silicone is ISO 10993, pending for prolonged skin contact of up to 30 days.
- Resilient – Silicone: Ideal for parts that need to withstand flexing, compression, and bending. Even through repeated cycles, Resilient-Silicone resin will spring back quickly to its original shape.
- BioRes – Micro Precision: Formulated for highly detailed, microscale parts with thin walls and features. With no z-bleed, parts have crisp detail, excellent readability, biocompatibility, and smooth surface finish. Features as small as 100 μm. BioRes - Micro Precision is ISO 10993 certified.
- Robust – ABS/PC – Ideal for prototypes and end-use parts, Robust - ABS/PC can be used as a 3D printed mold replacement for injection molds & metal molds. It is comparable to ABS/PC thermoplastic with high heat deflection temperature (HDT) for real-world, usable parts with a smooth satin surface finish.
- For a complete list of materials, visit https://www.b9c.com/products/materials.
B9Creations also offers on-demand 3D printing services and customization on all our additive manufacturing platforms, including hardware, software, and materials, through our B9[X] Custom Division.
Above: B9Creations's BioRes – Micro Precision resin is suitable for highly detailed, microscale parts with thin walls and features.
What excites you most about engaging with your community via a virtual event?
Mason: A virtual event eliminates barriers to access and availability, widening the pool of participation in this medical and manufacturing community. This event offers an even greater opportunity to engage in conversation about challenges and opportunities and form meaningful connections to partner on delivering better products to market sooner and more profitably than ever before, supply chain resiliency, onshoring manufacturing, and just-in-time production for products in critical industries. B9Creations couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of this thriving community and conversation.