A Silicone 3D Printing Evangelist

Image showing Ty Larson at ACEO®'s headquarters

Ty Larson (left) is ACEO®’s business developer for Central and North America (Photo: ACEO®; Wacker Chemie AG)

The opportunities of 3D printing with silicones are growing – so is the ACEO® team. Ty Larson recently joined as business developer for Central and North America. We spoke with him about his background and the huge potential of the industry.

Ty, can you tell us about your professional background?

I have over 20 years in Healthcare and Emerging Technology Business Development. My professional business experience has been with companies that includes over 15 years with various fortune 500 companies like: Philips Medical Systems, DELL Inc. and AT&T all in areas of Healthcare Innovation, Emerging Technologies, and Business Development.

How did you learn about 3D printing?

My first exposure to 3D Printing was in 2012 working at the Healthcare and Emerging Technologies Division of AT&T. The R&D group at AT&T Bell Labs was developing some potential solution based off of suggestions from healthcare and other customers. They were simple things back then like an ergonomic “wall rack” in the clinical review and patient exam rooms for their new iPads that the hospital had recently adopted to their clinical documentation workflow.

After seeing how the 3D printing was being accomplished and understanding the process better, I realized quickly in 2012 that 3D printing, and additive manufacturing was going to have a profound effect on several industries and I was reading about the advancements that were happening in healthcare specifically around pre-surgical planning models being printed from medical imaging studies like CT and MRI’s and it fascinated me.

How did you learn about ACEO®?

This past year while attending the MDM conference in California for a company I was working with to consult hospital and medical device companies on the advantages of 3D printing and I was flipping through a trade magazine during a lunch break and noticed the words “100% real silicone 3D printing”. I marked the article and researched the company (ACEO®) after I had returned from the show.

What are the benefits of ACEO®’s technology with regards to healthcare?

I believe there are multiple benefits that ACEO® Silicone 3D printing brings to healthcare as well as other vertical markets and many of those benefits come from the properties of the silicone material ACEO® can 3D print. The material’s properties like performance in temperature variables, water resistance, biocompatibility, endless flexibility, and resilience are just a few.

ACEO® also brings 3D printing of a material to healthcare that the community is already very comfortable and familiar with. The material is the same biocompatible and functional material that clinicians have worked with for decades. No other company can provide complex 100% silicone 3D printed parts/models like ACEO®.

The other “flexible” materials that are presently available from other vendors have limits in the flexural repeatability, are often not biocompatible on several levels, have questionable sterilization compatibility, have short life spans, absorb water and are smelly.

In my experience engineers, clinicians and R&D departments that have explored using the various materials inevitably told vendors This is nice,…but it isn’t quite like silicone. Do you have anything more like silicone? Can you 3D print clear like silicone? Is it water resistant like silicone? What happens when heat or cold in applied to the material? Does it always smell like that? Is it FDA approved?

What advantage does ACEO® provide?

I feel the greatest benefit that will be realized by the customer from ACEO® is that they are getting service from a company that deeply understands the material they print with, and how to accomplish printing with the highly specialized and dynamic material.

Having the deep knowledge of material chemistry is critical in 3D printing 100% silicone and is an integral part of the total solution that ACEO® offers in the print services. ACEO® leverages their more than 70 years of WACKER’s silicone expertise to pioneer and develop the complete silicone 3Dprinting service solution which include: the printers, software, and material being printed.

How did you first get in touch with the team?

After reading the article, I decided to research Dr. Bernd Pachaly and ACEO®. I wanted to connect with him and congratulate his team on the amazing achievement of 3Dprinting in 100% silicone. When I looked at his profile I noticed his headline. “The world belongs to those, who act” – that’s where our story started.

Looking back on my first visit to ACEO®’s headquarters in Burghausen I can say the entire ACEO® team Dr. Pachaly has assembled are the most professional people. Each and every person shares an enthusiasm and passion of what they are developing. They all understand that they have achieved something truly unique. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with them and be part of such a legendary and well respected company as Wacker.

What are you up to next?

My goal is to evangelize the achievements of ACEO® 3D printing team across the region, and educate people that WACKER, a legendary global chemical company with a tradition of over 100 years, is advancing the innovative use of silicones through its ACEO® 3D printing arm by using its deep understanding of silicone and new technology that is changing how engineers and product designers create.

Image showing Ty Larson with ACEO® team members during his onboarding training

Ty Larson (2nd right) during his onboarding training with the ACEO® team in Burghausen (Photo: ACEO®; Wacker Chemie AG)