Tuesday, March 15, 2016

News: Fripp Design granted patent for revolutionary Picsima 3D

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Fripp Design Limited, one of the UK's leading product design, research and business consultancies, has been granted a UK patent for its method of 3D printing silicone that has the potential to revolutionise the medical market and create commercial benefits across all sectors.

With bases in London and on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, Fripp are experts in all areas of product design and industrial design with customers ranging from blue chip companies, to UK leading universities, to individual inventors and entrepreneurs. It also develops its own own intellectual property in areas ranging from DIY to healthcare.

The UK patent is specific to a method for creating three dimensional geometry from a class of polymers using the "addition curing" method of vulcanisation. Picsima is a 3D printer that prints in full colour silicone, a world's first, that will revolutionise the rapid manufacture of soft tissue prosthetics, including "new" ears, noses and eyes.

Instead of mixing components together, placing them in a mould, and waiting some time for rubber to set, experts at Fripp have figured out how to use the catalyst component to create three dimensional geometry without the need for a mould.

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Steve Roberts, director and co owner of Fripp Design, said: "Tom Fripp and the team were playing around with platinum curing silicone in the office when they all had what I describe as the "light bulb moment." We realised that we could extrude the catalyst into a bath of silicone oil and catalyst to create three dimensional geometry. It was the combination of 11 years product design experience, being consumers of 3D Printing and learning the chemistry of addition curing silicone that gave us the knowledge and expertise to figure out the IP."

A key differentiator of the Picsima method is the fact that it cures any commercially available platinum curing silicone. "This is significant because we are not creating materials that would need to be tested and approved for use" added Roberts. "If the material is approved for use in moulds, then the material is approved as a material for 3D printing as well."

The company secured funding from both Innovate UK and Horizon 2020 which allowed them to build a test rig. The company have other intellectual property in how to create parts with multiple softness within a single part, but the current focus is to develop Picsima to meet the growing demand of companies asking for single softness silicone parts.

The patent is described as a "significant step forward" and the focus is turning the method into a commercial 3D Print offer under the Picsima brand. The company is currently seeking investment to continue the product development to meet the growing market need.

"With the UK patent granted, our focus now turns to Europe, North America and China as we see these as the three key markets for our portfolio of IP in Picsima," concluded Roberts.

Picsima website
Fripp Design website

Images: Fripp

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