TWI collaborates with Metalysis

TWI has recently collaborated with Metalysis, the metal powder technology company, to demonstrate the feasibility of its tantalum powder in metal additive layer manufacturing for biomedical applications such as patient-bespoke hip joints. The project successfully produced both uniform and randomized tantalum lattice structures that are bio-inert, replicate the structural stiffness of bone and allow for extensive integration with bone cells, so that the new joint is readily accepted by the body.

Metalysis’ high-quality metal powder, combined with TWI’s expertise, has demonstrated the significant potential of creating lattice structures using a specific metal additive manufacturing technique – selective laser melting (SLM) – for use in hip joints, implants and other new biomedical products that will both benefit patient wellbeing and bring cost savings to the wider market.

A TWI spokesman said: ‘We have already seen the great success Metalysis has had printing automotive parts. Our analysis suggests these metals are incredibly versatile and highly suited to the medical industry. Metal 3D-printed hip replacements could be a huge step forward, allowing patients to have a tailor-made joint by scanning their other hip and matching it with a metal 3D-printed replacement, rather than being restricted to the choice of standard sizes now available.’