RadTech Selects RadLaunch Class of '22


Celebrating Innovation in dental aligners, radiation therapy, batteries, protective coatings, and disappearing 4D materials,

With continued supply chain challenges and the imperative for sustainable processes, RadLaunch, the ultraviolet and electron beam (UV+EB) innovation accelerator announces the class of 2022 that will be formally presented at RadTech 2022, May 9-12, in Orlando.

"Since its beginnings in 2018, RadLaunch has identified some of the most innovative and potentially game changing start-up ideas for UV+EB technology," said Mike Idacavag,e Radical Curing LLC and RadLaunch chair.

“The RadLaunch class of 2022 has continued that trend with winners ranging from futuristic examples of 3D printing, the use of electron beams to help manufacture new generation electric batteries and degradable materials that might find success in drug delivery or removable coatings – the class of 2022 RadLaunch winners illustrates the pioneering scientific work and drive that RadLaunch was designed to support," Idacavage added.

“Each year our panel of experts is excited to see all of the Radlaunch nominations that come in," said Darryl Boyd, US Naval Research Laboratory and RadLaunch chair. “Not only are their credentials excellent, but the potential to truly make a positive impact on society is always evident in the work that the nominees present.  It is our hope that the RadLaunch recognition further fosters growth and success for these wonderful awardees."

RadLaunch Class of 2022 honorees are:

• Volumetric 3D Printed Dental Aligners – Vitro3D 
Making dental aligners at the point of care offers faster treatment and better patient outcomes using a novel and easy to use volumetric 3D printing method. The dental aligner market is the biggest user of UV-based 3D printing/additive manufacturing. However, current manufacturing of 3D printing dental molds to thermoform aligners is slow, wasteful, and inefficient.

This solution uses a brand-new volumetric 3D printing method which is more sustainable, 100x faster and produces more accurate aligners for improved patient outcomes. Ultraviolet (UV) photopolymerization is at the core of the technology being developed by Vitro3D.

• Custom Bolus for Radiation Therapy – BC Cancer Agency, Centre for the North
Centre for the North is working on a modern process for fabricating tissue replacement (bolus) used during radiation therapy.  A bolus is used to modify a patient’s radiation treatment for cancers close to the skin, ensuring the tumor receives the correct dose. The historical method is to manually cut out plastic, silicone, wax, or other proprietary tissue-equivalent materials onto a patient to conform with the planned treatment field.

While Centre for the North has been successfully using FDM 3D printers to produce a better bolus than legacy methods, they require a considerable amount of labor and skill. Ultraviolet (UV) SLA 3D printers are easier to understand and operate than a FDM printer and have the potential to speed up the process, and create a bolus that is easier to clean and sterilize for radiation therapy patients in BC.

• Rapid, Low-Cost, and Cleaner Battery Component Manufacturing – Ateios Systems
Ateios Systems has patented a process that utilizes low-energy electrons instead of thermal heat to manufacture key battery components. The process has proven to be 10x faster and 5x less expensive, without toxic solvents, and can improve battery performance compared with legacy technologies. They can be adapted to any type or size of the battery, thus impacting the entire $50 billion battery market.

Ateios' use of electron beam (EB) technology is critical to developing high-performance batteries at faster speeds and lower costs than traditional thermal manufacturing – the current thermal curing of battery electrodes consumes a significant amount of energy. It produces many toxic solvents that need to be collected. EB manufacturing is far more energy-efficient and requires no harmful solvents. Targeted battery applications range from small wearables to mid-size power tools to large battery packs for electric vehicles 

Special Academic Award

• Disappearing 4D Advanced Materials – Whytneigh R. Duffie, PhD Candidate in Chemical and Biological Engineering; and Travis W. Walker, Associate Professor in Chemical and Biological Engineering at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
A novel chemical technology platform developed at SD Mines provides sustainable, biocompatible, and high-resolution photo-curable resins that enable controlled and predictable disappearing (biodegradability) of materials, while also retaining mechanical integrity of the material. Potential applications include opportunities for precision casting of parts that are difficult to machine; end-of-life disposal of a part or device (e.g., drone, sensor) to prevent reverse engineering of sensitive technology; transient sensors; advanced reactor design; self-healing, sacrificial coatings; and medical devices (e.g., fracture fixation, tissue sealants, drug delivery). 

A key value proposition identified by potential customers with the DOD is the UV curing of disappearing resins with a 3D printer – this  increases material and combat readiness, shortens the supply chain, and reduces costs associated with transportation and end-of-life disposal.  Ultraviolet technology (UV) serves as the source of polymerization ensuring high resolution and high efficiency manufacturing.

• Protective Coatings for Inner Tubes and Cylinders – University of Trento and Polytechnic of Turin (Italy) ELIXE SRL
The use of UV protective coatings of steel products with closed narrow spaces, like the inside tubes and gas cylinders, is still an unexplored field. Ultraviolet technology (UV) in these environments would be beneficial but must address the closed geometries; the possibility of UV light reflection; dimensional restrictions; small space for movement and problems of heat disposal released by the lamp. 

Based on academic research at the University of Trento and Polytechnic of Turin, an optimal UV source geometry and chemistry have been identified and led to the development of new innovative equipment to apply and cure a UV coating on internal surfaces of tubes and cylinders. The UV-cured coating allows the use of an extremely efficient and sustainable process for metal protection.  Major applications include small pipes and cylinders for harsh environments such as tubing for oil, water, CO2 shell and tube heat exchangers, and pressure gas cylinders.