3D printer for X-ray technology specialists

The new facility of Wolf Medizintechnik GmbH in St. Gangloff is the result of a knowledge transfer in East Thuringia


Wolf Medizintechnik GmbH in St. Gangloff put a special 3D printer for medical applications into operation during a ceremony on Thursday afternoon. The device manufactured by BURMS-3D Druck Jena GmbH & Co. KG allows a new manufacturing process for components of an X-ray therapy device. At the official handover in the presence of the Thuringian Economics Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee (SPD), Burms CEO Uwe Brick said that, to his knowledge, this is the world's first 3D printing application in which the printed component - a plastic applicator that uses the high-energy radiation can pass through - is suitable for contact with an operation wound, for example after a cancer operation. Wolf Medizintechnik GmbH is a specialist supplier of devices and systems for radiological diagnostics and therapy and was taken over by Eckert & Ziegler Bebig GmbH in 2017.

Less expensive/production

The deputy manager of Wolf Medizintechnik, Christoph Kaufmann, welcomed the guests and, among other things, had the function of the 3D printer demonstrated. The taller than a man, dark gray device is reminiscent of a large fridge, but inside is high technology worth tens of thousands of euros. The tip, the tube head, of a special radiation therapy device with a spring arm is printed. Previously, this part had to be manufactured in a much more complex process, in which individual parts made of different materials were glued together. As part of the joint project with BURMS 3D-Druck GmbH, a 3D printer has now been specially modified for the production of these objects. 3D printing enables the production of the component in one process. The solution is therefore more cost-effective and promises a longer service life. When developing the printing process, it was therefore necessary to overcome a wide range of challenges - for example with regard to the material and the process. Employees at Wolf Medizintechnik underlined another special feature: an RFID chip is also printed. This enables clear identification and proof of frequency and duration of use, as well as automatic information as to when the component needs to be replaced.

Workshop discussion as a starting point for cooperation

According to Kerstin Michalke from the branch of the Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Ilmenau located at the Ernst-Abbe-Hochschule Jena, the starting point for the development was a workshop discussion, which was carried out in cooperation with the East Thuringia Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Gera. Evelin Barth from the IHK reported that the cooperation was initiated in 2019. All those involved reported fruitful cooperation between science and business and successful technology transfer. Economics Minister Tiefensee also praised the successful project as an interdisciplinary effort: "An example of how networks in Thuringia bear fruit." He emphasized how important it is to ultimately create marketable products from successful research and development and thus generate added value .

Source: OTZ , Martin Schöne

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