Multimillion-dollar contract awarded by the VA supports the development, testing and manufacturing of seat cushions, mattresses, and patient positioning devices, such as splints, that will also enable the VA to “make products at a fraction of their final size, minimizing storage and warehouse needs”

FreeFoam is a revolutionary new family of photopolymer resins from Desktop Metal containing heat-activated foaming agents that are 3D printed with Digital Light Processing (DLP). After printing, FreeFoam parts are briefly put into an oven where the foaming agent creates closed cells inside the material in a tightly controlled process
This innovative material can be programmed to expand a specific amount between 2 to 7 times its original printed size – allowing FreeFoam parts to be shipped in a compact form and expanded on-demand in an oven close to the final point of use or assembly, saving shipping and inventory expenses
The VA contract notes the project involves a new form of manufacturing that will drive “innovations in both logistics and volume-based manufacturing at the point of care”
Desktop Metal, Inc. (NYSE: DM), a global leader in additive manufacturing technologies for mass production, today announced a three-year, multimillion-dollar contract with the Veterans Health Administration to develop, test, and manufacture a variety of 3D printed healthcare products with a revolutionary new FreeFoam™ material.

FreeFoam is currently being printed exclusively on the ETEC Xtreme 8K top-down DLP printing system, with broad commercial availability slated for 2023. ETEC is Desktop Metal’s industrial polymer brand.

The VA will receive an Xtreme 8K, as well as a variety of other equipment, in addition to development and design support for the project. The initial contract award, for $2 million, has the potential to grow to $7 million after successful phase-gate deliveries.

“Desktop Metal is proud to partner with the Veterans Health Administration on this visionary project to advance health care, logistics, and decentralized manufacturing with our new 3D printing technology at production volumes,” said Ric Fulop, Founder and CEO of Desktop Metal. “Our team is passionate about using Additive Manufacturing 2.0 technology such as our ETEC Xtreme 8K and FreeFoam material to transform the way manufacturing is done to deliver all-new benefits at scale.”

The project is part of a strategic effort by the Office of Advanced Manufacturing (OAM) within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to guide the utilization of advanced manufacturing (AM) technologies, like 3D printing, in health care applications. OAM is building digital and physical infrastructure to bring medical device innovation and manufacturing back onto VA soil, so that Veterans are first in line to receive innovative products and services. OAM is currently focused on expanding product lines available to Veterans and is building a portfolio of technology capabilities to support this work. This requires investment into equipment, materials and research and development activities that align with OAM’s mission to advance point of care manufacturing to benefit Veterans’ health.


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