Austrian start-up Luxinergy has developed a DLP 3D printing technology and new material to address comfort and speed within the orthotics sector.
Founded by Thomas Griesser, a chemist and professor at Montanuniversitat Leoben, and Thomas Rockenbauer, a mechanical engineer and researcher, Luxinergy intends to bring its first orthotic devices to market next year.
These products will be produced via a fast 3D printer built by Rockenbauer using a strong, biocompatible and ductile resin developed by Griesser while studying photoreactive systems for 3D printers. Orthotics are traditionally created with the use of a negative plaster mould which is removed before a positive is cast and covered in plastic material via thermoforming. Luxinergy has been founded to provide an alternative to this process, bringing down lead times by weeks.
The company’s 3D printing system is equipped with two UV Projectors and a light engine called HELIOS from In-Vision. HELIOS contains a chip with 2K resolution and Luxinergy is able to control each of its millions of tiny mirrors individually to print orthotics at pixel-level precision. Luxinergy’s founders have been working with In-Vision since they were carrying out their respective projects in university and has sought to harness its technology because of the ‘speed, accuracy and dependability.’ The light that HELIOS produces is said to be twice as intense as other light engines on the market and enables Luxinergy to cure liquid photopolymers faster, reducing print time significantly according to the company.
Luxinergy’s 3D printing system is currently being tested in Austria and will be targeted at orthotic stabilisers for hands, arms and legs in 2022, with plastic braces and retainers in the dental sector also possible applications of the technology.
“Whether they are used for insoles for shoes, splints for stabilisation, or prostheses, the latest 3D printing technologies are taking medical device manufacturing to a new level,” commented Griesser. “We believe fast 3D printing is the future of orthotics.”
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