Sartorius Stedim Biotech of Germany was recently awarded a patent for a disposable, single-use medical 3D printer that manufactures 3D printed models of organs and bioprocessing equipment. This biomanufacturing specialist company of Göttingen, Germany and had filed for the patent in 2013, last month, finally, it attained the patent.
3D printers and new additive manufacturing systems are being extensively used for medical purposes just like stethoscopes, scrubs, and MRI scanners. 3D scanning and printing technology are useful for 3D printed models, implants and bioprinted tissue, the process of making 3D printed items is tough and infections could be a great concern.
Keeping 3D printed equipment sterile and clean as per hospital standards could be a laborious task. Sartorius has come up with this new idea of sterilization. The German company is coming up with single-use sterile and disposable 3D printers for clinical use. The inventor of the 3D printer is Frank Maggiore who has designed this 3D printer which would be manufactured and dispatched in aseptic conditions. The problem of providing sterile conditions for the 3D manufacturing of medical objects was a big concern and could be solved using these sterile disposable 3D printers.
Moreover, this printer has a sterilizable printer assembly, which includes one printing head, a printing platform, and a driving mechanism for the printing platform. The 3D printer’s packaging would enclose the printer assembly in a sterile manner, with an aseptic connector fluidly. The whole affair could be expensive. Hence, disposing off a 3D printer after single use could be unacceptable. This machine would presumingly be recycled after the single use.
This patent could be the path to creating 3D printed organs from human stem cells. Single use printers are the best way to create absolute sterile conditions for 3D printing of medical tissues and equipment. Whether it becomes a hit with the healthcare sector, is yet to be seen.