Home Industry Aidimme installs Meltio 3D printing prototype to create biomedical titanium implants

Aidimme installs Meltio 3D printing prototype to create biomedical titanium implants

A significant advance in 3D printing has been announced by the ATILA research project. The Valencian research center Aidimme has installed a prototype for the production of biomedical implants made of titanium alloys. This technology is based on the unique metal 3D printing process developed by the Spanish company Meltio from Linares (Jaén).

The ATILA research project, which is supported by a consortium of various institutions, is investigating the many possible applications of biomedical implants made from the titanium type Ti64-ELI. Thanks to Meltio’s unique metal 3D printing technology, which is based on wire welding, research is being conducted in Spain for the first time into how this material can be used in 3D-printed parts. Unlike other technologies that use metal powder, this process is more efficient and generates less environmental impact and material waste, helping to reduce the carbon footprint.

The ATILA project is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the National Research Agency as part of the 2021-2023 Scientific, Technical and Innovative Research Plan. The multidisciplinary consortium is led by Aidimme and includes the Research Foundation of the University Hospital of Valencia FIHGU, the Laser Applications and Photonics Research Group of the University of Salamanca (ALF USAL) and Meltio.

Direct metal laser cladding (DED-LB/M) enables the production of parts by adding raw material in the form of powder or wire. The advantages of DED-LB/M technology with wire include less process contamination, a good deposition rate, relatively low costs and a high material utilization of almost 100%. When powder is used, it can be reused, but its chemical composition must be controlled as it changes after use.

A key aspect of this process is the interaction of the metal with oxygen, especially with highly reactive materials such as titanium. During the additive manufacturing process, the metal absorbs oxygen due to the increase in temperature during melting and subsequent layer deposition. However, the oxygen content must not exceed the limits specified in the reference standards for implants (UNE-EN ISO 5832-3:2017).

The first 3D-printed metal part in this project is based on the titanium-aluminum-vanadium alloy Ti6Al4V, with a maximum oxygen value of 0.2% for grade 5 and 0.13% for Ti6Al4V ELI, according to the ASTM F136-21 standard.

DED technology uses a shielding gas that is coaxial with the melt to ensure high material deposition efficiency and print quality. Due to the large temperature gradient during the process, the microstructure of the material must be controlled to meet the demanding specifications.

Within the ATILA project, a prototype based on DED-LB/M technology was developed and integrated. This technology, which will receive its final upgrades in 2024, will allow better control of thermal gradients to ensure suitable metallurgy according to the stringent standards for Ti6Al4V ELI.

In June 2024, a technical meeting was held at Aidimme where researchers from Aidimme, USAL and FIHGUV as well as representatives from Meltio discussed regulation, possible implant candidates and numerical simulation.

Aidimme, as a technological institute and innovative business association, contributes to increasing the competitiveness of companies, especially in the areas of product design, innovative materials and sustainable processes. Over the last forty years, Aidimme has constantly adapted to economic changes, expanding and redefining its target sectors.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

3DPresso is a weekly newsletter that links to the most exciting global stories from the 3D printing and additive manufacturing industry.

Privacy Policy*

You can find the privacy policy for the newsletter here. You can unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time. For further questions, you can contact us here.