Conventional weaving technology allows to create various textile materials that find their applications in multiple fields – from art to industry. Properties of woven textile materials are unique compared to polymeric films and other flat materials as they are more responsive, and shapeable, thus in many cases, having better mechanical performance. They are also widely used as reinforcement for composites, being their crucial constituent. Although versatility of woven textiles is unquestionable, their 2D form significantly limits their applications. Also their peculiar mechanical performance makes them a material that should not be omitted when we think of 3D constructs. Unlike 3D printed materials, 3D woven fabrics are much more consistent, do not require any post-processing and are characterised by high flexibility. Also for many applications, their permeable form is a desired feature. For example in an implantation it is a crucial characteristic that allows tissue to overgrow the material, easing the implant’s acceptance by the system. Moreover, the 3D textile can act as a reinforcement for more complicated composite materials with excellent mechanical behaviour due to the material’s uniformity (in normal composite the textiles often overlap each other causing uniformities in the material).
Creation of fully customisable woven material that can be produced on single device without any stitching is a future of material engineering being provided right now by 3D loom technology. Unlike currently available circular looms, the 3D loom allows to create a product with ununiform surface and differentiated shape. Tube-like structures with inner compartments, changing diameter and additional outer appendages. Everything without a single stitch. From simple U-shape, to complicated heart valve scaffold. Due to possibility of mass production, the technology of 3D weaving loom increases the availability of high-quality 3D products, and allows even wider application possibilities. Through easy serial production, medical products become available to wider group of patient’s saving their lives and health. Technical 3D textiles acting as reinforcements for composites increase their applicability due to lower production costs.
Original idea for the development of 3D loom emerged from our work on medical devices, particularly heart valve scaffolds. Our team prepared a detailed strategy for 3D weaved textile heart valve scaffold development. The readymade product is a cost effective alternative to existing solutions. What is more interesting, due to the universality of the 3D loom technology, the scaffold can be weaved from specific biodegradable fibres. By using such fibres the device can serve patient’s regardless of their age so it can be even used to help children since it will grow with their body. Using 3D loom technology allows to give the chance for better life to more patients that are currently out of range of optimal health care, as it makes the scaffolds more available by reducing production costs.
Such possible application of the 3D loom technology gives us as a team pure satisfaction and sense of accomplishment from our work, making us even more eager to make the technology best possible and to meet the requests and needs of our clients.
The problem of current technology is an allegiance to tradition. Through small innovations we make a step from 2D to 3D weaving. Development of 3D weaving loom is a revolution in textile technology, bringing together the traditional weaving with innovative idea of creating complex 3D shapes in one manufacturing process. That way 3D weaving uses existing textile technology, bringing it to the whole new level.