Tag Archives: 3d printing

3D Printing and Manufacturing’s Future

Modern manufacturing started with the industrial revolution, became a powerhouse when Henry Ford instituted the assembly line, and is now facing a new innovation: additive manufacturing, also known as 3D Printing. The 3D printing process begins with a set of programmed instructions that tells the printer how to lay down material (plastic, ceramic, metal) to create a 3D object.

This new technology offers exciting opportunities for manufacturers. At this point, it doesn’t look like 3D printing will be replacing traditional factories or machinery. The process is innovative, but is not yet economically advantageous to become a full-on manufacturing operation.

3D printing still complements traditional manufacturing processes, and is extremely 3D Printer Suturing Device
advantageous. What 3D printing brings to the table is in prototype and customizable product manufacturing. The ability to design and produce one item fosters new product development and aids in manufacturing specialized parts or equipment.

This specialized part manufacturing has significant benefits to the medical industry. The ability to customize items such as hearing aids or dental implants effectively and efficiently improves patient outcomes. At the most recent MD&M and Atlantic Design & Manufacturing shows, exhibitors displayed innovative medical devices made through 3D printing. Medical device designers are finding good use for new applications involving 3D printing. Products such as suture wound closure devices, custom porous cranial implants, and spinal implants were on display.

As with all medical implants, the FDA has a say in approving the devices. There has been 3D Printer Spinal Implantsuncertainty in the regulations as the FDA solidifies its view of additive manufacturing. The FDA has already approved certain resins for facial reconstructive surgeries and has a fast-track system that allows certain facilities to use a 3D printed device when there are no other patient options. It is expected that the FDA will issue full guidance on what questions device manufacturers can expect regarding 3D printed medical devices by the end of this year.

We are in agreement with the industry, that 3D printing brings new capabilities to manufacturing and we plan on purchasing our own printer. The new printer will help us explore this new technology and allow us to learn how to incorporate it to improve our capabilities. We believe that 3D printing technology will enable us to help customers with parts for improved customizations of medical implants such as prominent acetabular cups, spinal cages, and knee components.

As the technology improves, offering more material choices and higher outputs, the possibilities seem limitless. We are looking forward to offering expanded capabilities and customer options through 3D printing.

3D Printing and the Medical Industry

The topic of 3D printing has caught the imaginations of people throughout the manufacturing industry. The possibilities that this new production method presents seem endless, but it’s not just the manufacturing industry that is going to benefit from this advent. Medical science will be making big leaps forward.  These advances will come from not only the 3D printing of medical devices, but also the printing of body parts for patients in need of transplants.

Medical devices are held to an extremely high standard by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but the organization is sorting out how to go about approving devices created by 3D printers. Fox News reports that the FDA is looking into some of the remarkable things done with this new method of production, from a 3D-printed tracheal splint used to save a newborn’s life to an implant which replaced 75 percent of a man’s skull.

This new development has changed the way implants and devices are created, but the real impact 3D printing could have on the industry is with printed body parts, called bioprinters. “If you have a compass and a straight edge, everything you draw is a box or a circle,” said DEKA Research & Development founder Dean Kamen according to Popsci. “When you get better tools, you start thinking in different ways. We now have the ability to play at a level we couldn’t play at before.”

What can be done with 3D printing in medical science seems limitless. Popsci even goes as far as to note the possibility that bioprinters could extend the capabilities of the human body. Whether 3D printing is reimagining the way people think of the human condition, or making it easier for patients to gain access to devices they need to lead healthy lives, this technology is having an amazing effect on the medical industry.