Centre of multidisciplinar innovation and technology of Navarra
Brief Description of the Company
Cemitec is a multidisciplinary centre located in Pamplona (Spain). Its activities are devoted to the technology transfer to companies in the fields of Electronics, Fluid Mechanics and Material Science, mainly through multidisciplinary projects. Our current staff consists on 44 graduates from diverse fields (Engineering, Chemistry and Physics), 7 out of them holding PhD degrees.
Among the diverse activities that carries out, the centre is developing new production techniques based on micro-fluidics and industrial inkjet printing, providing a complete set of systems tailored for the dosage and arrangement of complex fluids over different substrates.
The technology developed by Cemitec is based on piezoelectric drop-on-demand printheads. The first steps were conducted on the graphics industry in order to achieve the correct deposition of inks over difficult substrates such as glass or steel. This permitted to start new developments on digital fabrication of electronic devices such as keyboards and printed circuit boards. The key difference of this technology is that there is no need to generate a specific tool for the manufacturing of each item, thus leading to competitive production processes in custom-made mass production scenarios.
Also, together with specialized centres, a new active packaging for food industry, based on active compounds that alters the enzymatic activity of fresh vegetables as well as prepared meals. One key aspect of the procedure is based on inkjet technology, since it is possible to create tailored amounts of active compound depending on the class of foodstuff, weight, harvest, etc.
As opposed to usual thought, inkjet printing has a wide range of applications once the correct materials are developed. Even living cells has been proved to survive regular inkjet procedures. On the other hand, inkjet deposition is fast: new printer engines such as the one developed at Cemitec allows for printing as much as 1 million drops per second, i.e. several sq. meters per hour of throughput.
Digital manufacturing on tissue engineering
Cemitec is committed to put one step forward on new fields and is interested in offer its technology in the field of tissue engineering. Together with a close collaboration between Cemitec and Viscofan through recent years, it is possible to integrate the excellent properties of the collagen films and the versatility of inkjet technology to create complex and tailored tissues for different applications, as it has been recently shown by some research groups throughout the world. It is possible to generate structures which mimic the anisotropies observed in bone tissues, thus preventing irregular growth of tissues.
The technique permits to obtain cellular cell carriers that are specially designed to facilitate a specific type of bone tissue, by surface modification of the collagen carrier used underneath. In this way, cellular growth can be controlled. The technology can be extended further to generate a controlled deposition of the cells by direct inkjet deposition, thus providing a complete digital tissue engineering solution.
Once the interaction between cells and carrier is well understood, it can be integrated with diagnostics and image analysis, to generate a computer model of tissue which can be digitally reconstructed in vitro, thus providing a custom-made implant for each patient. This might have a dramatic effect on healing time of wounds as well as other therapeutical benefits which should be contrasted by medical assessment.