The idea for 3D Printing cross linked polymers came about when Fripp Design Limited was developing a new method for 3D Printing soft tissue prostheses; a project sponsored by the Wellcome Trust. The method developed used existing 3D Print Technology, from 3D Systems, which involved 3D printing a prostheses, in full colour using a starch base material and then post processing in medical grade silicone. Unfortunately, for patients, the system was never adopted by the Maxillofacial Prosthetist Profession as they objected to the use of starch in a prostheses. Fripp Design Limited saw this as an industrial design exercise in developing a design solution to a client challenge. This was the motivation for developing the method for 3D printing silicone.
The company filed a UK Patent application in October 2013, which was granted in February 2016, and has filed a PCT in October 2014. In April 2015 the European Patent Office confirmed that in their opinion the IP claims are both "Novel and Inventive". European and North American patent applications are to follow.
Our test rig has been seen by leading industry experts; all of whom have indicated that our method is both innovative and novel too.
A common question asked of us is 'What are the applications for 3D Printing silicone?' In conversation with the UK Prototyping Bureaus operating Stratasys/Objet Connext 3D Printers, Gaskets and Industrial Seals seem to be a popular requirement for the 3D Printing of soft parts (Connex uses a material called Tango Black. With the Connex method, parts are made in Tango Black to get the 'fit' correct. Parts are then 'vacumm cast' in silicone to get the functionality. With our system, we negate the need for vacuum casting; see here how our material differs from Tango Black). Already we are receiving enquiries from 'blue chip' companies (from wound care to food) who, once they understand what we are doing, are telling us about new opportunities they can see for the technology.
A key differentiator of our method is we create 3D Geometry from existing two part medical grade RTV silicones. This opens up many opportunities in creating silicone based medical devices such as CPap mouth pieces, Hearing Aids, Cosmetic Prostheses (such as facial fillers) and other patient specific medical devices because Silicone is the only soft polymer approved for use internally within the human body. Consumer projects include custom ear plugs and custom covers for Smart Devices.
For UK investors, the company is eligible for EIS tax relief.
If you are interested in helping accelerate our time to market, please contact Steve Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org