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Written by / Agency / Source: AIJU (Toy Technological Institute)
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New Smart Materials which Change Shape and Improve Medical Methods - The Spanish consortium IBE-RM is researching materials with smart performance for the developments of new applications in Rapid Manufacturing Technologies
New Smart Materials which Change Shape and Improve Medical Methods


NewswireToday - /newswire/ - Ibi, Alicante, Spain, 2010/04/21 - The Spanish consortium IBE-RM is researching materials with smart performance for the developments of new applications in Rapid Manufacturing Technologies.

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Pieces that change their shape in response to humidity or magnetic fields. Materials that blend organic substances in order to increase their strength and biodegradable potential. The development of smart compounds applied to Rapid Manufacturing technologies will contribute to the creation of products with innovative functionalities with no geometrical limitations in several sectors, especially the medical sector.

We refer to one of the parts of the IBE-RM project which are being studied by the Spanish R+D consortium, whose main objective is the consolidation of the use of Rapid Manufacturing Technologies through the development of new technologies, materials and applications.

One of the conceived applications for the medical industry consists in a crowbill made from a hidroactive polymer, which closes up in contact with humidity. This forceps could be used as an end of the catheter in non-invasive operations. The same application will be able to be manufactured with magnetoactive elastomers – plastics able to modify their mechanical properties or their geometry in response to a magnetic field change. This material can also be used in the development of biomedical sensors, as its magnetic properties can change due to changes in certain variables of the environment.

“Our contribution to the project consists in studying materials with smart functionalities already available in the market and adapting them according to the requirements of the Rapid Manufacturing Technologies the consortium works with”, states Suny Martínez, from the Product Development – Laboratory Department of the Toy Research Institute (AIJU), leader of this sub-project. “Thus, we extend the offer of procesable materials through Rapid Manufacturing technologies. New innovative products will be developed and intended to a large number of sectors”, she says.

The blend of organic materials with polymers is an alternative to increase the plastic degradation ability while decreasing the impact on the environment. Moreover, it can supply improvements in mechanical caracteristics of the final product, as well as greater endurance.

With the purpose of increasing material range for processing through Rapid Manufacturing technologies, the IBE-RM consortium researchs plastic compounds made from almond shell for SLS technology. This manufacturing method is characterized by the use of laser for the sinterizing of powder, building a layer-by-layer final piece from a digital design. Another formulation currently being tested uses banana fiber on a polyurethane matrix. This natural fiber acts to reinforce those materials and its use in the production of short runs of pieces by vacuum casting is a feasible alternative to the employment of other kind of materials for the achievement of greater mechanical properties.

Other examples of the formulations being developed within this project include biodegradable materials for its application in agriculture for instance, biocompatible materials for the medical industry or conventional materials that can be processed by means of Rapid Manufacturing technologies in toy and leisure applications.

Rapid Manufacturing
Rapid Manufacturing technologies allow the achievement of prototypes or final pieces highly customized and geometrily complex from the continuous deposition of layers of metallic or polymeric material.

The IBE-RM ( project has the challenge to develop a rapid manufacturing technology MADE IN SPAIN. For that purpose, the consortium counts on the participation of 27 partners, counting enterprises, universities and RDT centres.
Research has three action lines: Rapid Manufacturing technologies, material development and Information Technologies implementation and communication in productive processing.

The project leader is Ascamm Foundation, a TECNIO member, and the network bringing together the Catalonian experts in Technology Transfer has been created by ACC1Ó.

The expected duration of the project is up to 2012, with a budget of 3,3 million Euros for the first two years, and it is partially funded by the Spanish Science and Innovation Ministry as well as the European Union within the R+D+i Operative Programme for the benefit of the enterprises (technological fund) through FEDER funds.

About AIJU
The Toy Research Institute (AIJU) is a non-profit organization located in Ibi, the Spanish geographic centre for toys manufacturing. Its aim is to transfer and allow toy manufacturers the access to the knowledge of new technologies in order to improve their competitivity, while offering technological and financial assessment and supporting the professional development of people involved in the sector.
The 75 professionals on the staff carry out with their labour in the different areas AIJU is made up of, and this organization is provided with the required infrastructure to manage the different activities it undertakes.

AIJU ( is made up of 580 partners belonging, highly, to Valencian industry. From the total number of partners, 40% are toy manufacturers, 42% belong to the auxiliary industry and the rest belong to other sectors.

The department intended to carry out these tasks is the Product Development – Laboratory. Within this department, one of the most interesting innovation fields is rapid prototyping, working in the achievement of prototype moulds by means of several techniques: vacuum cast with silicon moulds, casting foundry, photopolimerization by ultraviolet light and selective laser sintering (SLS). AIJU has been working on the research of SLS Equipment for 10 years now, studying its feasibility of use in the manufacturing of functional prototypes and mould prototypes with the objective of reaching final material sets.

AIJU is an active member of the Rapid Manufacturing European Platform and the Spanish mirror led by ASERM, the Spanish Rapid Manufacturing Association. It is also member of EuMAT and Manufuture. AIJU is the coordinator of the working group “Rapid Prototyping Proposal SP3 (materials) Lab” and member of the “Materials” group promoted by REDIT between the RDT Centers of IMPIVA’s Network.

In the standard field, the entity is working on the potential feasibility of the proposed rules as well as new safety criteria for toys, with participation in several proficiency testing schemes both on a National and European Level. Thus, it is participating in the development of new standards concerning organic additives in materials for toys in the European Committee of Normalization (CEN).

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Written by / Agency / Source: AIJU (Toy Technological Institute)


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