New polymer systems will be featured players in a bevy of new drug-eluting stents set to enter the market. The stents are placed in blood vessels close to the heart with the intent of releasing drugs that keep arteries open with patients who suffer from arteriosclerosis. It’s become a multi-billion dollar business with a couple of star players, and a spectacular technology display for high tech plastics. One of the exciting new entries features a bioresorbale polymer, first predicted by Design News. This is a plastic that disintegrates within six months, leaving just the cobalt chromium metal stent to prop open the artery. It comes in the Costar system from Conor Medical Systems. Conor was recently acquired by J&J. Abbott is developing a stent that is made of bioresobrale resin, specifically polylactic acid (PLA). It isn’t expected to hit the market for another five years. The new technologies in the stent business were reviewed yesterday at a cardiology meeting called CRT 2007 (Cardiovascular Revascularization Therapies) in Washington DC. My take: It will take a longer for new exciting technologies to make it to the operating table because of lingering questions about the effects of the original drug-eluting polymer stents. The questions focus more on the drugs than the polymers, but this one of the most exciting technology development areas for plastics on the planet.
Norway-based additive manufacturing company Norsk Titanium is building what it says is the first industrial-scale 3D printing plant in the world for making aerospace-grade metal components. The New York state plant will produce 400 metric tons each year of aerospace-grade, structural titanium parts.
Siemens and Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology have achieved a faster production process based on selective laser melting for speeding up the prototyping of big, complex metal parts in gas turbine engines.
BMW has already incorporated more than 10,000 3D-printed parts in the Rolls-Royce Phantom and intends to expand the use of 3D printing in its cars even more in the future. Meanwhile, Daimler has started using additive manufacturing for producing spare parts in Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
SABIC's lightweighting polycarbonate glazing materials have appeared for the first time in a production car: the rear quarter window of Toyota's special edition 86 GRMN sports car, where they're saving 50% of its weight compared to conventional glass.
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