Towards Qualification of Additively Manufactured Ti6Al4V (ELI) Medical Implants
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In recent years, the production of customized medical implants through additive manufacturing by the Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing in South Africa has grown significantly. While satisfactory results have been obtained and the quality of life of many patients has been improved, further research is required to enable the production of qualified components. This paper shares the growing acceptance of additive manufacturing, as well as the establishment of a South African Additive Manufacturing Strategy. An overview of the progress made by the Collaborative Programme in Additive Manufacturing is presented. The scope of the metals research performed towards the qualification of additive manufacturing of Ti6Al4V medical implants is discussed. Examples are given of internationally leading work on utilizing these implants, which were additively manufactured under an ISO 13485 system, in maxillofacial reconstructive surgery. Lastly, the development of an affordable polyurethane artificial heart valve is presented as a different type of medical implant.
This research was supported and funded by the South African Department of Science and Technology through the Collaborative Program in Additive Manufacturing, Contract No.: CSIR-NLC-CPAM-15-MOA-CUT-01. The financial support of the South African Technology Innovation Agency, as well as the South African Research Chairs Initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation of South Africa (Grant No 97994), is gratefully acknowledged.
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