Additive Manufacturing of medical devices and actuators with improved performance
Fort Wayne Metals is a leading manufacturer of metal products for medical devices and high specification industrial applications. The company has evolved to a fully integrated system of melt, production, and processing of tubes, wire, cables, sheet, and assemblies across 17 facilities in the U.S. and Ireland. FW Metals offers a range of alloys – including NiTinol, titanium, cobalt chromes, stainless steel, and high-performance alloys – for a wide spectrum of materials and forms, including round wire, shaped wire, tubes, bar, rod, sheet, strands, and cables. These products are for use in a wide range of medical devices such as cardiovascular, neurostimulation, orthopaedic and orthodontic applications, as well as a number of high specification automotive, aerospace and general industrial applications.
In order to further increase their value-added services and address current industry demands, the company is interested in introducing Additive Manufacturing (AM) for production of high specification metal components. Additive manufacturing has the potential to deliver highly complex and customised options for the company and its customers.
The objective of this project is to develop a metal AM process for the production of high specification metal components for implantable biomedical applications and industrial actuators. Biomedical implants require specific characteristics such as biocompatibility, high fatigue strength, radiopacity, precise dimensional and composition control, deployment flexibility, and personalisation. Industrial actuators require characteristics such as high fatigue and actuation strength, shape memory, thermomechanical repeatability and reliability, and precise dimensional and composition control. Detailed investigations are required on optimisation of feedstock composition and AM processing conditions to obtain stents and actuator components with the required characteristics.
This project supports the company’s strategy to develop AM-based processes to deliver products with higher functionality and performance. It is expected that the research will support a line of new products with increased performance for the company and its customers.
Four-year project started September 2021
Key Enabling Technologies used
Additive Manufacturing (AM or 3D printing); Process and Product Modelling; Advanced Materials; Materials Characterisation; Data Analytics.