Design and Development of a Three-Dimensional Printing High-Throughput Melt Electrowriting Technology Platform

Felix M. Wunner, Sebastian Eggert, Joachim Maartens, Onur Bas, Paul D. Dalton, Elena M. De-Juan-Pardo, Dietmar W. Hutmacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Three-dimensionally (3D) printed scaffolds and cell culture lattices with microscale features are increasingly being used in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. One additive manufacturing technology used to design and fabricate such structures is melt electrowriting (MEW), a process which needs to be scaled in production to effectively translate to industrial applications. In this study, a scale-up printer, designed with eight simultaneously extruding heads, is constructed and validated. Importantly, identical structures could be fabricated using parameters developed from a single-head system, therefore establishing a MEW printer ecosystem that allows for direct upscaling from laboratory research. The successful transfer to vertically mounted collectors produced homogeneous reproducible scaffolds with identical morphologies and fiber diameters. These proof-of-concept experiments also show that MEW is capable of large-scale fabrication, successfully demonstrated by manufacturing 780 × 780-mm sheets of scaffolds/lattices. This study demonstrates that upscaling MEW can be realized by multiplying the number of print heads, while vertical mounting of the collector significantly reduces the MEW footprint. Additionally, economic aspects were considered during the development and costly components, such as the x, y, and z linear axes, were minimized. Herein, a systems engineering approach for the development of a high-throughput MEW technology platform is presented for the first time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-90
Number of pages9
Journal3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

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