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ASYS Life Science

Printing Solutions − From the Idea to the Production Solution

The ASYS Group offers complete 3D printing solutions for the pharmaceutical and diagnostics industry as well as medical technology. 

Standard Printing Systems and Customized Solutions

The ASYS subsidiary EKRA offers standard printing systems and customized solutions for thick film applications. Further fields of application are the printing of fine structures, three-dimensional bodies (3D printing) or functional layers on different materials like glass, ceramics, LTCC/HTCC, foils, metallic tubes or wafers.


Applications

Solid medicines for ingestion

Imaging diagnostics

Blood gas analysis sensors

Biological cellulose tissue

Printed electronics for orthoses and sensors on the body

Wound pads

Additive Manufacturing

The ASYS Group offers complete 3D printing solutions for the pharmaceutical and diagnostics industry as well as medical technology. The 3D screen printing technology represents a significant extension of the previously established screen printing process. This method is extended by a third dimension, printing in the Z-axis, which offers new possibilities thanks to exact knowledge of material and processing. Complex three-dimensional geometries are created in a parallel printing process, which is suitable for large-volume products as well as free choice of material. This offers considerable advantages over conventional methods.

Advantages of ASYS 3D Screen Printing

Proven parallel printing and automation processes

Scalable production volume

Printing of production series instead of individual parts or prototypes

Unlimited choice of materials

Highest precision and repeatability

GMP confom, including documentation and traceability

3D Screen Printing

3D screen printing enables 3D structures to be printed using a printing form (screen or stencil). During an alternating printing and drying process the structure grows on a base plate. After the last printed layer, the components are stabilized by a sintering process.

Materials

  • Stainless steel
  • Aluminium
  • Copper
  • Tungsten
  • Titanium
  • Ceramics
  • Material combinations

Print phase

  • Powder particles bonded together with a binder and printed by screen printing
  • The printed layer is dried (UV, IR..)
  • The density is about 55-70%.
  • Content of organic substances ~1-5%
  • The layer thickness is measured with the 3D system
  • The tear-off distance is  automatically set in the printer

3D Screen Printing – Machine Concepts

The 3D screen printing system XH3D is a machine type from the versatile 3D printing portfolio of EKRA. It generates complex 3D structures on a base plate using stencil or screen technology. According to the actual printed layer height, the machine automatically adjusts the jump distance. Optionally the machine communicates with the patented screen changing unit. The capacity of the unit allows to store up to 10 screens. The base plate for 3D component printing can be attached directly to the moving printing table by vacuum. An optional drying system can be placed next to the machine to harden the actual layer. 

Features

  • Automatic looking of the setting according to the printed layer
  • Alignment accuracy +/-10 μm @ 6 Sigma
  • Dedicated vacuum table

Options

  • Screen exchange unit
  • Curing, IR or UV unit
  • 3D measuring system, for precise adjustment of the snap lock
  • Different types of levy
  • Motorized squeegee head
  • Stencil cleaning system iROCS

3D Single Table Machine with Expandable Table Position

The advantage of the XH3D 3D screen printing system is its versatility. The screen printer can be seamlessly integrated into a wide range of applications and line concepts. The applications range from laboratory scale to multi-level, fully automated line solutions. Perfect for research and development: As a single table version, the XH3D is easily loaded and unloaded manually at the same position. The printer coordinates the combined sequence of layer build-up and intermediate drying in an integrated heating module. This space-saving design uses the available laboratory space optimally.

  • Convenient unloading of the raw material
  • Optional: Adjustable laser structuring at the second table position
  • Optional: 100% 3D inspection on the second table position

One-stage inline solution

In the single-stage inline solution, intermediate drying of the printed layer takes place in a belt dryer. Substrates can be transported afterwards via an underflood section, back to the beginning of the line to the inlet of the printer. This results in a continuous cycle of printing and drying until the desired total layer height is reached. Simultaneously with the drying of freshly printed substrates, the layer build-up on the dried parts can be continued. The printing process is not subject to waiting times and the equipment is efficiently utilized.

Multi-stage inline solution

The multi-stage inline solution continues the idea of efficient line utilization while increasing the degree of automation and variability. Different layouts or materials can be processed independently of each other in the respective stages. The stages are connected by transport modules, which enables different layouts to be combined fully automatically. This determines the shape of the three-dimensional print object. Different materials can be processed in various stages. In this way, composite objects consisting of different materials become real – without intermediate setup changes and with high process reliability.

Project Example

Thick Film Printing for Blood Gas Sensors

For blood gas analysis, a method for measuring the gas distribution (partial pressure) of O2 (oxygen), CO2 (carbon dioxide) as well as the pH value and the acid-base balance in the blood, high-speed methods are increasingly used at the POC. The sensor technology required for this application has been manufactured on EKRA printing systems type XH2 for many years. 

In a complex logistical process, a wide variety of materials such as silver, latex, enzymes, gold, silicone, carbon are applied in up to 20 layers. The result is a sensor which makes it possible to deliver a result in laboratory quality within a few minutes. Especially in intensive medical care a quick diagnosis of blood gases is essential.

In addition to printing expertise, the customer also relies on our automation competence. ASYS offers substrate handling, stacking and storage, clean room competence, laser marking and inspection as well as qualification services. In the complete automation of the previous manual processes, aging processes are carried out in different storage cabinets with temperatures of 5-50°C and a relative humidity of 3-95%. To reduce the costs of intralogistics, all processes are connected with AIV‘s. 


Project Example

Thick-film Printing of Silicone on Wound Pads

Today, wound pads are more than just simple bandages. Some of them are sterile and multi-layer sandwich structures made of absorber, foil and fleece, which remain on burns for a longer period of time. To prevent the wound from sticking to the covering material, some manufacturers use silicone strips. 

We realize the automated, reproducible production of these structures on variable wound pads with our EKRA printer X5 Professional with an output of up to 100 pieces per minute. It is important to achieve a long production time between the automatic cleaning cycles and to handle the flexible material reliably. The EKRA experts combine knowledge of process, pastes and technology to achieve the perfect processing of silicone. 

After drying, the separated pads are fed and transferred to the following packaging process. In this process we use our expertise in the integration of robotics and rely on delta robots due to their speed. A complete solution from one source.

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