Another step forward in research. Tumaker NX Pro Pellets at Zaragoza University

Research and technological innovation have always gone hand in hand. One enhances the other and vice versa.

Over time, it has become clear that the introduction of 3D printing has led to significant growth in research processes. The establishment of this innovative technology has brought with it a powerful boost to the sector, and more specifically to that focused on biological engineering.

With the production and customisation possibilities offered by 3D technology, processes are speeded up and the impact areas are broadened. But innovation does not stop here. The phenomenon that has taken scientific research to the next level is pellet 3D printing. Until the emergence of the pellet, 3D printing was limited to those materials that exist in filament format. This resulted in insurmountable impediments in many situations. With pellet 3D printing, these barriers have been broken down, making it possible to produce with new materials or with certified and approved materials. Thus, a 3D printer can be useful in a wide range of sectors. Making faster manufacturing, higher productivity and significant cost reductions a reality.

These advantages are already being experienced at the University of Zaragoza. Multiscale Mechanical and Biological Engineering (M2BE) group at the University Institute for Engineering Research of Aragon (I3A) has made the leap to 3D printing with pellets to improve the development of its research.

The University Institute for Engineering Research of Aragon (I3A) is already working with 3D Pellets technology

Multiscale in Mechanical and Biological Engineering (M2BE) group of the University Institute for Engineering Research of Aragon (I3A), attached to the University of Zaragoza, has recently acquired the Tumaker NX Pro Pellets 3D printer.

The M2BE group focuses mainly on the development of new methodologies and multiscale numerical technologies in the fields of Mechanical and Biological Engineering. Its eagerness to innovate in mechanobiology research is perfectly in line with IT3D Group’s commitment to this sector.

Pilar Alamán-Díez (pre-doctoral DGA), Jorge Campo Teruel (student of the Degree in Biomedical Engineering (UC3M) in internship and MªAngeles Pérez Ansón (University Professor).

Some of the lines of research in which this group is working are: Mechanobiology of tumour metastasis, Mechano-chemical-cell biology, Tissue Engineering and Mechanobiology of bone regeneration, Design of personalised prostheses and implants, and Biomechanical modelling of pulmonary fibrosis.

The acquisition of the Tumaker NX Pro Pellets is motivated by research related to the production of biodegradable scaffolds. These are cylindrical scaffold models with a diameter of 7 mm and a height of 2 mm. The aim of these parts is to achieve better regeneration of the bone in which they are implanted. In addition, they aim to preserve the mechanical properties of the bone tissue while the scaffolds are degraded and absorbed by the body’s own fluids. The 3D printed scaffolds are composed of a mixture of two biocompatible and biodegradable polymers, namely polycaprolactone (PCL) and polylactic-coglycolic acid (PLGA) at 50% by weight (1:1 composition). The resulting material has optimal properties for tissue engineering applications.

One thing that members of the University of Zaragoza themselves highlight about Tumaker’s pellet technology is its customisation. This feature of Tumaker 3D printing sets it apart from previous techniques. Moreover, in the case of the M2BE group, this will allow the design of scaffolding with specific geometries for each treatment.

Comparison of the Tumaker NX Pro Pellets with the printer previously used by the M2BE group

The printer previously available was much less complex and was developed by the group itself. The filament was obtained with a spindle and an Arduino board, then put into a standard FDM printer and then print.

As the members of the research group say, all this non-automated work slowed down the analysis process considerably. The switch to this new printer speeds up the entire scaffold development and, above all, reduces the variability of the process. Obtaining the filament and using two different devices to achieve the desired print was a time-consuming process that has been eliminated with the new Tumaker NX Pro Pellets.

In addition, the pellet printing method provides greater versatility in the manufacture of function-specific polymeric blended scaffolds. This range of possibilities opened up by the pellet world is a very important breakthrough for the research sector. Applications that were previously unfeasible become much more accessible. Thus, the University Institute for Engineering Research of Aragon, attached to the University of Zaragoza, is already planning to use pellet printing in the development of more projects with (bio)materials.

The importance of research for IT3D Group

The fact that an entity such as the University of Zaragoza supports IT3D Group’s technology reinforces the concept we have of technological innovations.

esearch sector is nourished by innovative contributions that aim to facilitate its work. This link is vital for mutual progress and to advance as a society. For this reason, at IT3D Group we consider it essential to support the research sector.

The use of Tumaker’s NX Pro Pellets printer by the University Institute for Engineering Research of Aragon is evidence of the benefits of 3D printing in the sector. In fact, this collaboration has great similarities with the existing one between IT3D Group and the University of Vigo.

The Grupo de Novos Materiais (FA3) of the UVigo has the same printer for projects focused on the manufacture of scaffolds and biocompatible devices with application in tissue engineering. This is yet another example of how the sector can be boosted by 3D printing.

In short, and fortunately, the world of research continues to grow. And at IT3D Group we couldn’t be prouder that we are working together. Not for us, but for EVERYONE.

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