New partnership improves orthopaedic implant manufacturability

orthopaedic implant

Image credit: Allegra Orthopaedics

Swinburne’s ARC Training Centre for Surface Engineering for Advanced Materials (SEAM) has partnered with Allegra Orthopaedics and RMIT to explore a coating manufacturing process to deposit a proprietary bioceramic material onto orthopaedic implant products. 

The industry-led research project has been awarded $118,338 by the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) and Allegra Orthopaedics. 

The project will span over 12 months and is led by Swinburne’s Dr Andrew Ang and Allegra Orthopaedics’ Robert Bell. 

The manufacturing outcome for Allegra Orthopaedics will be a robust coating process that manufactures a new product line of bioceramic coated orthopaedic implants. 

This unique coating can outperform the current hydroxyapatite-coated implants. It allows Allegra Orthopaedics to develop a proprietary implant coating process not currently available in the market. 

This project will catalyse the industry-university collaboration and establish a solid foundation for manufacturing functional bioceramic coatings for Allegra Orthopaedics. 

“This manufacturing system is the first of its kind in Australia and will be made available to Allegra for this project,” SEAM director Professor Christopher Bernd said. 

“It will change the way on how orthopaedic implants are coated.” 

“Together with our novel bioceramic material, this manufacturing process-material combination can expand its market within the biomedical industry,” Allegra Orthopaedics CEO Jenny Swain said. 

“And it could be licenced to interested coating providers.” 

This project employs a novel plasma spray process that can create unique hierarchical nano- and micro-scale features that exhibit enhanced biointegration with bone tissue, as well as antimicrobial properties. 

Key R&D activities of this project are: 

  • Preparation of the bioceramic material as novel feedstock for the new plasma spray process 
  • Plasma spraying coatings of the new bioceramic that allow microstructural and chemical control up to nano-scale 
  • Coating characterisations and optimisation 
  • Product evaluation and commercial recommendations. 

The project funded via IMCRC’s activate program is an example of how industry works closely with Australian universities to translate manufacturing research into innovative, commercial solutions with real-world benefits. 

“With an ageing population and bone-related diseases on the rise, orthopaedic implants with excellent performance are needed globally,” IMCRC CEO and managing director David Chuter said. 

“By proactively investing in R&D and exploring new surface coating technology with the help of SEAM and RMIT, Allegra Orthopaedics will not only improve the coating quality and endurance of its medical implants; but also significantly enhance the quality of life for many patients who otherwise might require frequent, complicated and expensive orthopaedic surgeries.” 

Leave a Reply