3D Cad to real part

Written by: Proto Labs Ltd | Published:

When you are on the front line in the war against Cancer, getting working prototypes for evaluation in the lab can be critical. To gain an advantage in their particular battle, Zellwerk used 3D SolidWorks and turned to rapid prototyping services provider Proto Labs®.

In the war on cancer, our bodies have their own guards: 'Natural killer cells' - able to destroy cancer cell rivals and preventing viral infections from spreading. Unfortunately, the immune system in many patients is weakened to such an extent it cannot produce enough of these cells.

Now however, Zellwerk GmbH has succeeded in cultivating cells outside the human body in greater quantities than previously achieved. Prof. Dr. Hans Hoffmeister, CEO, describes the system, "What we have here is the core of our bioreactors meeting all the requirements necessary to produce the body's own cells, in a standardised and repeatable process," he says.

The Zell system is called Z® RP Technology and comprises an incubator and a special adapter. An external control unit monitors, controls and documents all of the parameters. To ensure the repeatability of the process, a vital element of the challenge was to create a special surface in the reactor – not too smooth, not too rough. Construction Manager Rainer Mausolf summarises: "The choice of plastic was crucial because we needed to provide constant chemical and physical conditions in the reactor."

The process was so simple, "I just uploaded my 3D SolidWorks model to the Protomold website. Almost immediately my quote arrived and shortly after, contacted with valuable feedback. Within days we received the first reactors and adapters in our special plastic. At first we could not believe the speed and reliability of the service," says Mr. Mausolf. "We knew of no other suppliers who could deliver finished parts within 10 days of receiving a 3D model. Sometimes we would receive within five days, if we had opted for this."

Prof. Dr. Hoffmeister adds: "We absolutely rely on parts made of 'real' material. Without Proto Labs, we could have never made as quickly and inexpensively a fully functioning bioreactor to meet stringent requirements of regulatory agencies."


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