Medical & Dental

DWK Life Sciences releases “first” commercial 3D printed lab equipment

DWK Life Sciences, a leading manufacturer of premium lab equipment, has released its first ever metal 3D printed product.

Used in laboratories to facilitate the secure transfer of liquids, the new bottle connector cap has been brought to market in record time, and acts as a proof of concept that powder bed fusion (PBF) can be applied to parts for sterilized environments.

Conventional to additive manufacturing

DWK Life Sciences was formed in the summer of 2017 in a merger between the DURAN GroupWheaton Industries and Kimble Chase, all former manufacturing companies of high-quality laboratory glassware and equipment.

The original range of Duran GL 45 Multiport Connector Caps are manufactured using conventional processes such as machining and welding. However, as a result of the production team’s implementation of additive manufacturing, they were able to create a newer, fully functional version of the product, in a fraction of the time.

4-Port GL 45 bottle connector cap manufactured using metal 3D printing.
A 4-Port GL 45 bottle connector cap manufactured using metal 3D printing. Photo via DURAN Group.

The 3D printed connector cap’s production was reduced in cost and weight when compared to an original product. A welded product weighs approximately 150 grams, while a 3D printed version weighs around 50 grams.

“Development of new labware, especially glass products, is traditionally a slow process,” explains Alistair Rees, DURAN product manager, “In contrast, the development time for the 3D printed connector cap was very short: from the first idea to the final printed product only took about two months.”

A batch of the caps was 3D printed in medical grade 316L Stainless Steel using an EOS system, and took around 51 hours for completion. After printing, physical and electrochemical processes are used on the surface in the final stage of production. The finished product is intended to be used in chemistry, life science and biopharma laboratories.

A traditionally manufactured Duran™ GL 45 Multiport Connector Cap. Photo via DURAN Group

3D labware innovation

3D printing has previously been used to create a more timely and cost effective scientific process in laboratories through FieldLab, a 3D printed portable diagnostics lab created by the South African biotech startup, Akili Labs, used to identify disease outbreaks in remote circumstances.

Furthermore, a recent study from the University of Glasgow has proposed the concept of replacing costly labware with a selection of modular, 3D printed plastic vessels accessible through a set of downloadable digital files. This allows users to print and produce their own chemical modules.

The new DURAN Stainless Steel 4-Port Connector Cap GL 45 will be on display at the DWK Life Sciences Stand B7 Hall 4.1, from July 11-15 at the World Forum and Leading Show for the Process Industries, ACHEMA, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

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Featured image shows Stainless Steel Multi-Port Connector Cap GL 45. Photo via DWK Life Sciences.