Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

RAMATI Report Summary

Project ID: 505954
Funded under: FP6-NMP
Country: Portugal

Final Report Summary - RAMATI (Rapid manufacturing of titanium implants)

Due to their complex shape, high dimensional accuracy, good surface finish, and one-of-a-kind production, dental prostheses are usually manufactured by investment casting. Therefore, the materials used for this application must exhibit, not only excellent biocompatibility, ductility, toughness and wear and corrosion resistance, but also excellent castability, low solidification shrinkage, low reactivity with the mould material and the atmosphere, and high machinability.

The use of laser freeform manufacturing (LFFM) in prosthesis production will be a major breakthrough in many medical areas, and the aim of this project was to contribute to make it a reality. LFFM is particularly adequate for prosthesis production, since it eliminates most of the shortcomings of existing casting processes:
(a) being a single-step process that produces near-net shape parts, the time expenditure and cost associated with multiple step fabrication are largely eliminated;
(b) no machining is required;
(c) higher material purity is obtained because contamination by tools, machining oils, lubricants, cleaning agents and binders is avoided and part manipulation is reduced to a minimum;
(d) no tooling or fixturing is required;
(e) manufacturing planning is automatic and easy;
(f) the factory footprint, capital investment and human resources required are low;
(g) a turnaround time of a few hours or days instead of a few weeks for conventional processes.

It is also an essentially waste-free process because unused powder can be reused, a feature that makes it attractive when expensive materials are used, as it is the case in biomedical applications.

The RAMATI project aimed at establishing the scientific and technological basis for the application of LFFM to the production of biomedical implants. The main applications targeted concern small size, customised prosthesis, for dental, maxillofacial and cranial reconstruction applications, in general manufactured in a one-per-one basis, in order to allow exact tailoring of the prosthesis to the clinical requirements. The process should be fast and low cost, too.

The technology proposed in the present project was based on a seamless integration of advanced imaging techniques, such as TAC, computer-aided-design, and computer-aided-manufacturing, and advanced materials. These advanced technologies were used to create a complete solution for the production of high-quality, one-of-a-kind prosthesis, specially customised for individual patients.

The RAMATI project was successfully concluded and led to significant developments in what concerns the scale-down of the LFFM process in order to be able to produce parts with dimensions in the 100 micron size scale.
A new coaxial deposition nozzle for microdeposition was developed. New powder feeding concepts for microdeposition were developed. A new powder feeder design was developed. A new software allowing the manipulation of CAT and scanner data and the design of dental prosthesis and implants on the basis of these data was developed and made available commercially. Two new designs of microdeposition equipment were developed. Deposition procedures for Ti-alloys dental prosthesis and implants were established. A new synthesis method to prepare NiTi alloys was developed. A new combinatorial method of alloy design was established.

Related information

Contact

Rui VILAR, (head of unit)
Tel.: +351-218418121
Fax: +351-218418120
E-mail
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