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3D Printed Surgical Instrument

EOS announced a new StainlessSteel 17-4PH IndustryLine metal powder for direct metal laser sintering.

The product consists of an iron-based metal alloy powder and a specially developed process parameter for manufacturing on the EOS M 290 metal system. It meets the essential requirements of serial production using Additive Manufacturing, as it guarantees reproducible part quality through the highest degree of data reliability for material properties of the end product. The technology enables users to save time and cut costs considerably in the areas of downstream quality assurance and part qualification.

In comparison to conventional production processes, industrial 3D printing material properties, such as elongation at break, tensile strength, or hardness of a finished part, were previously only determined based on a small statistical population. This sometimes made it necessary to perform elaborate tests and qualification processes.

Dr. Tobias Abeln, Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at EOS explains: “Planning security and reliability are top priorities for customers who are engaged in serial manufacturing. For its StainlessSteel 17-4PH IndustryLine, EOS provides reliable and statistically proven data for the most important material properties of finished parts.”

He continues: “This significantly raises quality standards in Additive Manufacturing. The customer can use the data 1:1 to qualify the technology for large-scale production and therefore minimize the time required as well as cut the cost of in-house material and process qualification.”

Development and production processes for the large-scale Additive Manufacturing of components are therefore more efficient and time-to-market processes can be accelerated at the same time.

EOS StainlessSteel 17-4PH IndustryLine is a high-strength, easily curable, highly corrosion- and acid-resistant material which is therefore ideal for manufacturing surgical and orthopedic instruments. Parts can be additionally processed, micro-blasted, and polished directly after the Additive Manufacturing process or also after heat treatment.

The existing material data sheets and batch-specific material test certificates contain extensive information regarding the tests used as well as the material standards. These either correspond to international standards or are derived from in-house quality assurance procedures in case of the absence of international standards. The quality of each batch of EOS StainlessSteel 17-4PH IndustryLine powder delivered is guaranteed by quality assurance processes, which are parts of the extensive quality management system used at EOS for systems, powdered materials, and processes.

Zachary Bryan, PhD, test developer and metallurgist at the US-based customer Exactech explains: “We were impressed by both the quantity and quality of the data that EOS provided for its IndustryLine process and material. We have manufactured various instruments based on EOS StainlessSteel 17-4PH IndustryLine and achieved the desired material properties. Exactech is planning to use this material for the small-scale manufacturing of medical instruments and intends to do so in collaboration with EOS.”

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