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Zellwerk, a specialist in cell culture and tissue engineering based in Eichstaedt, Germany, is using single-use bioreactors manufactured from injection-moulded components supplied by Proto Labs to cultivate high quantities of cancer cells outside the human body.

According to Prof Hans Hoffmeister, chief executive officer of Zell, the patented Z RP Technology bioreactor system takes a sample such as blood from the patient, isolates the immune cells, cultures them outside the body in large quantities and leads them back to fight tumour cells.

To ensure repeatability of the process, it was key to create a special surface in the reactor offering the optimum amount of friction. Construction manager Rainer Mausolf explained that, with the help of Proto Labs, the company found the most suitable resin for the system.

All the bioreactors and probe adapters used in Z RP Technology are manufactured using the Protomold rapid injection-moulded parts service.

Key benefits of product application

  • According to Mausolf, Proto Labs provided a fast, reliable service; the finished parts were delivered within 10 days of transferring the 3D model.
  • The process was straightforward: Mausolf uploaded the 3D Solidworks model to the Protomold website and almost immediately received a quote; within a short timeframe, the company received the first reactors and adapters made using the special plastic.
  • Hoffmeister said that, without Proto Labs, the company would not have made as quickly and inexpensively a fully functional bioreactor for growth of the body’s own immune cells that met the stringent requirements of regulatory agencies.

Proto Labs

Proto Labs delivers fully functional prototypes in production-intent materials to dramatically cut the cost and time normally associated with product development. This empowers designers and engineers with the means to rapidly develop, test, and get their products to market first in an ever-competitive global market place.

Proto Labs delivers fully functional prototypes in production-intent materials to dramatically cut the cost and time normally associated with product development. This empowers designers and engineers with the means to rapidly develop, test, and get their products to market first in an ever-competitive global market place.

Protomold delivers injection-moulded parts from moulds manufactured utilising state-of-the-art high-speed CNC machining technologies. Parts can be moulded using almost any engineering-grade resin and are ideal for prototyping, bridge tooling and low-volume production.

First Cut satisfies the need for functional prototypes much earlier in the development cycle for quantities of 1–10+. Because First Cut delivers prototypes in engineering-grade resins and aluminium they will have real material properties and improved surface finishes. In other words, they will be functional.

When you submit your 3D CAD model, Proto Labs’ powerful super-compute cluster creates an interactive quote giving pricing options and where appropriate, suggesting changes to improve manufacturability. You simply interact with your quote online, tailor options such as material and delivery to your requirements and with every change, the pricing information automatically updates. This built-in ‘what-if’ analysis enables last-minute project refinements to be accommodated at the click of a button.

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