Xilloc, developer and manufacturer of patient-specific bone implants, is relocating to Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen (NL). With this move, the innovative company can develop its activities in the field of 3D printing on an industrial scale.
3D printing is an important production method for Xilloc; it is used to make skull, jaw and bone implants from titanium and other materials. Maikel Beerens, Xilloc CEO, explains: “3D printing is important to us because it can be used to make implants that can have a perfect match for the patient. Remember that every patient is unique. We use our knowledge and experience to make a real contribution to the patient’s quality of life.”
He continues: “At Brightlands Chemelot Campus we can continue our materials research and develop products for non-medical applications.”
3D printing ecosystem
The impetus for Xilloc’s relocation came from the close cooperation with Brightlands Chemelot Campus to realize initiatives and projects in the field of 3D printing. These are geared towards a broader use of 3D printing on an industrial scale, also known as Additive Manufacturing. This involves education, materials research, the acquisition of industrial 3D printers, and production – both on a small scale and in mass production.
In June 2014, the Additive Manufacturing Materials Center (AMMC) was founded – a 3D printing laboratory housed within the Chemelot Innovation and Learning Labs (CHILL). The center focuses on applications in education. AMMC is a joint venture involving Brightlands Chemelot Campus, CHILL, Maastricht University, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, FabLab Maastricht, and LIOF.
In March 2015, CHILL purchased an Arburg Freeformer, which will be installed at the AMMC this summer. A total of 150,000 euros was invested in this industrial printer, made possible in part by Limburg Economic Development (LED).
The Brightlands Materials Center was also founded in March 2015, as a joint venture between the Province of Limburg and TNO. The province is investing 15 million euros in this research center, where one of the fields of research will be Additive Manufacturing. The center has almost twenty partners, including the Eindhoven University of Technology. The university is also participating, with no fewer than eight doctoral students conducting research in the field of 3D printing.
Active role of Xilloc
The Brightlands Chemelot Campus is home to a cluster of companies and knowledge institutes, now with Xilloc as a leading representative. Beerens continues: “By contributing to the realization of the 3D printing ecosystem on the campus, it is possible for us at the same time to deepen our knowledge and develop new products.”
Bert Kip, Brightlands Chemelot Campus CEO, says: “Within the area of expertise of ‘high-quality materials’, Additive Manufacturing is a very promising development. We are involved not only in material research, but also in providing services and in production. Part of our investment is therefore in 3D printing. We expect Xilloc to play an active role in ensuring that the campus also becomes ‘the place to be’ in the field of 3D printing.”
Xilloc is already fulfilling this role as it takes the initiative in the Advanced Dutch Additive Manufacturing (ADAM) project. The aim of this project is to further develop 3D printing. ADAM has an industrial DLP printer (digital light processing using UV light) at its disposal and a heavy-duty, industrial EOS printer. Xilloc contributes application knowledge; the other main movers are Brightlands Chemelot Campus, Atum 3D, and DSM Biomedical. The campus invests, facilitates, provides the infrastructure, and takes care of business development; these investments are made possible by the (Dutch) Province of Limburg through Chemelot Research Facilities. The Tilburg firm Atum 3D provides the technology and DSM Biomedical the materials knowledge.
ADAM is an OP-Zuid project. Total investment amounts to 1.8 million euros, of which 0.8 million euros are a subsidy from OP-Zuid, paid by the ERDF (European Union) and the Government.
The best of both worlds
Beerens again: “Of course, we are still using our network at Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus because here we can test and sell new products.”
The development of Brightlands Chemelot Campus is being (financially) supported by the Province of Limburg. Twan Beurskens, Economic Affairs representative for the Province of Limburg explains: “Xilloc combines the best of both worlds: for product development, the company takes advantage of the materials knowledge at Brightlands Chemelot Campus and, for market development, the medical network at Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus. Brightlands was conceived precisely to promote this type of cross-fertilization.”