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Evonik Launches Implant-grade PEEK Filament for Medical Applications in 3D Printing

Evonik has launched a 3D-printable PEEK filament for use as an implant-grade material for medical applications. The company can now develop and manufacture custom-made plastic implants, created using additive manufacturing processes, that meet the requirements of ASTM F2026 for PEEK polymers for surgical implant applications.

To be sold as VESTAKEEP® i4 3DF, this PEEK filament is based on VESTAKEEP® i4 G, Evonik's highly viscous high-performance polymer with characteristics of biocompatibility, biostability, x-ray transparency and easy handling. The filament is produced under cleanroom conditions and then subjected to stringent quality management standards for medical materials.

The natural-colored PEEK filament, which has a diameter of 1.75 mm, is wound on 250- or 500-gram spools suitable for direct use in standard fused filament fabrication 3D printers for PEEK materials.

Evonik is also offering a testing-grade version of its PEEK filament, having the exact same product properties as the implant grade, but without the documentation needed for approval in medical technology applications. This allows for adaptation of the processing characteristics of the high-performance plastic to a given 3D printer.

“For modern medical technology, the development of our first 3D-printable implant material opens up new opportunities for customizing patient treatments. Orthopedics and maxillofacial surgery are examples of areas where this could be applied,” says Marc Knebel, head of the Medical Devices & Systems market segment at Evonik. “Innovative high-performance materials like Evonik’s VESTAKEEP PEEK—along with highly complex hardware and software, and the perfect match between materials and machines—form the basis for a sustainable 3D-printing revolution in medical technology. Therefore, we will successively expand our product portfolio of 3D printable biomaterials.”

For more than 20 years, Evonik has manufactured high-performance polymers and additives used in additive manufacturing.