ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING IN THE CAPITAL REGION
In addition to digitalization, additive manufacturing is also changing entire industries like hardly any other technology. It offers promising potential, especially in medical technology. In addition to the production of simple aids such as fixtures for dentistry or ophthalmology, or components for ventilators and surgical instruments, additive manufacturing is increasingly being used in orthotics, prosthetics and traumatology. With the help of software-based measurement and analysis processes, prostheses or implants tailored to the patient can be designed and produced using automated and digital 3D printing processes. In this way, medical products are created that are always individually tailored and quickly available.
As a first-class Life Sciences and IT location, the German capital region offers optimum conditions for the development of innovative processes such as additive manufacturing for the healthcare sector. In order to make better use of this potential, the 3D printing network Mobility/Medical goes Additive was founded with the aim of developing innovative 3D printing products together with users, R&D institutes, consulting firms, machine and material manufacturers, Additive Manufacturing service providers and software providers. Furthermore, the Industrial Additive Manufacturing Hub Berlin (IAM Hub) provides a focal point for young 3D printing companies and scientific institutes to develop innovative ideas and implement ground-breaking 3D printing projects. A co-working space is also attached.
The outstanding scientific landscape of the Berlin-Brandenburg region makes important contributions to technology development. Areas of focus include digital 3D modeling at the Technical University of Berlin, printable ceramics, biomaterials and quality control at the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM), and sustainable materials at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP.
A large number of start-ups are bringing new products onto the market. 3D-Medico as a spin-off of Think 3DDD develops recyclable, eco-friendly orthoses after prior measurement with its own software and in its own 3D printer. The technology from Orion AM enables an improvement in the bonding of two 3D printed layers. Here, the use of thermal radiation ensures maximum stability and safety with regard to restoring the natural shape of the body. There are already exciting projects in the field of dentistry. The three-dimensional printing of tissue structures (bioprinting) of living cells is being advanced by Cellbricks - a pioneer for applications in tissue engineering and the development of artificial organs for transplantation. The US company Formlabs has its European headquarters in Berlin and is working worldwide with innovative 3D printers and biocompatible materials in the healthcare sector.
Both the scientific and technological expertise and the access to innovative start-ups and international talent, especially from the IT sector, mean that companies from outside are increasingly settling in the capital region.
As the global market leader for technical orthopedics, the medical technology company Ottobock, headquartered in Duderstadt, Lower Saxony, is advancing individual patient care using digital processes and 3D-printed products. The Berlin location of the company plays a central role as a “digital futurelab” – the Ottobock Future Lab. On the premises of the former Bötzow brewery in the heart of Berlin, agile, cross-functional teams create and test new products, technologies and care solutions.
In March 2020, Berlin-based Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG received CE approval for the world’s first 3D-printed applicators for the treatment of gynecological tumors. The attachments, which are made of biocompatible and sterile plastic, extend the range of applications of conventional applicators.