Luxinergy with the HELIOS Light Engine from Biocompatible Resin & In-Vision for 3D printing of orthoses – 3DPrint.com
Custom medical devices called orthotics are used to help patients recover from injuries and correct body misalignments, and can also relieve pain. Unfortunately, they take a long time to make and when they’re done they’re no longer the most comfortable things to wear. The Austrian startup Luxinergy, founded in 2019, has developed a super-fast 3D printing process and a new material to address the problems of comfort and speed in the production of orthotics. The process is a digital light processing (DLP) process in which two UV projectors display an image of the design on each layer of plastic resin. It is powered by the HELIOS light engine, which was developed by the manufacturer of precise optical systems In-Vision Digital Imaging Optics GmbH.
Thomas Griesser, chemist and professor at the Montanuniversitat Leoben in Austria, and Thomas Rockenbauer, mechanical engineer and researcher, were co-founders of Luxinergy. Griesser developed a strong but biocompatible and ductile resin, and Rockenbauer built a fast DLP 3D printer using In-Vision’s UV projectors. Together they hope to launch orthotic stabilizers for arms, hands and legs in 2022.
“Whether for insoles for shoes, splints for stabilization or prostheses – the latest 3D printing technologies bring the manufacture of medical devices to a new level. We believe that faster 3D printing is the future of orthotics, ”explained Griesser.
Traditionally, orthotics are made by building a “negative” plaster mold on the patient’s body. As soon as it is removed, a plaster of paris is cast “positively”, then refined and covered with plastic material in a deep-drawing process. Finally, the final plastic orthosis is further refined, then ground and finally adapted to the patient. While this process can take weeks, 3D printing can significantly speed up the orthotic process and eliminate the need for awkward casts. However, these 3D printed orthotics can also be brittle, which is why Luxinergy’s biocompatible resin will be of great help. In addition, DLP technology works faster than SLA, which exposes only part of a design at a time, as opposed to two.
A UV projector light engine is what drives a DLP printer, and Luxinergy was impressed by the high product quality from In-Vision and, according to a blog post by “Innovative spirit in previous collaborations”. For this reason, the startup wanted to partner with In-Vision and use the ultra-fast HELIOS light engine to power its own system.
Rockenbauer explained: “When we were at university, we started working with In-Vision on our scientific projects. Now we have access to their latest technology, from which we benefit enormously. “
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HELIOS has a chip with 2K resolution and each of its millions of tiny mirrors can be controlled individually. This means that Luxinergy can 3D print orthoses precisely at the pixel level. According to In-Vision, the powerful alternator can produce light that is more than twice as intense as what other products on the market offer, which means the liquid photopolymer can be cured faster for a faster 3D printing rate.
Griesser said: “Its intensity significantly reduces our printing time.”
Luxinergy’s biocompatible resin allows the company to vary the flexibility and thickness in different areas of the orthosis during manufacture, making the final product much more comfortable. The startup is also adding perforations to its orthotics to make them more breathable. Since they are 3D printed from clear plastic, it is much easier for an orthopedic surgeon to see if the patient has pressure points on the skin. Luxinergy’s 3D printer prototype is designed to enable orthotics to be created using vat photopolymerization in just a few hours, not weeks. According to In-Vision, the HELIOS light engine is easy to maintain and replace, so it works without a hitch with just a few interruptions.
The startup’s 3D printer is currently being tested in Austria and Luxinergy has some big problems on the horizon as its super-fast DLP printing process is attracting some interest in the dental industry for making plastic brackets and braces.