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3D printing applications for the medical industry

Views: 117     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-02-10      Origin: Site

The medical device industry continues to grow around the world. As the industry evolves, so does 3D printing of medical device prototypes and production parts. Medical 3D printing is no longer the stuff of science fiction. Additive manufacturing (AM) is now being used for everything from surgical implants to prosthetics and even organs and bones.


I. Advantages of 3D printing for medical use


Why is 3D printing a good fit for the medical market? The three main factors are speed, customization and cost-effectiveness.


3D printing allows engineers to innovate faster. Engineers are able to turn ideas into physical prototypes in 1-2 days. Faster product development times allow companies to allocate more time to receive feedback from surgeons and patients. In turn, more and better feedback leads to designs that perform better in the marketplace.


3D printing enables an unprecedented level of customization. Every person's body is different, and 3D printing allows engineers to customize products based on these differences. This increases patient comfort, surgical accuracy, and improves outcomes. Customization also allows engineers to be creative in a wide range of applications. With 3D printing technology available in thousands of flexible, colorful, and robust materials, engineers can bring their most creative visions to life.


Most importantly, 3D printing often enables custom medical applications at a lower cost than traditional manufacturing.


II. 3D Printing Technologies for Medical Applications


Both metal and plastic 3D printing technologies are suitable for medical applications. The most common technologies include fused deposition modeling (FDM), direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), direct carbon photosynthesis (DLS), and selective laser sintering (SLS).


FDM is an excellent process for early device prototyping and surgical models. Sterilizable FDM materials include PPSF, Ultem, and ABS M30i. 3D printing of metals via DMLS can be done with 17-4PH stainless steel, a sterilizable material. Carbon fiber is a new process that uses custom resins for a variety of end-use medical device applications. Finally, SLS can produce strong, flexible parts and is the best process to use when creating bone replicas.


III. Using 3D Printing in the Medical Industry


3D printing is changing almost every aspect of the medical industry. 3D printing makes training easier, improves patient experience and accessibility, and simplifies the implant procurement and implantation process.


1. Implants.


3D printing is not just a part of our physical world; it is now a part of many people's bodies as well. Cutting-edge technology can now 3D print organic objects, such as cells for tissue, organs and bone. For example, orthopedic implants are used for bone and muscle repair. This helps improve the usability of implants. 3D printing also excels at making fine lattices that can be placed on the outside of surgical implants, which helps reduce implant rejection rates.


2. Surgical tools.


Particularly effective in the dental field, 3D printed tools conform to a patient's unique anatomy, helping surgeons improve surgical accuracy. Plastic surgeons also frequently use guides and tools manufactured through 3D printing. Guides are particularly useful in knee replacement surgery, facial surgery and hip replacement. Guides for these procedures are often made of sterilizable plastic PC-ISO.


3. Surgical planning and medical training models.


Future physicians now routinely practice on 3D printed organs, which mimic human organs better than animal organs. Doctors can now print exact replicas of their patients' organs, making it easier to prepare for complex surgeries.


4. Medical devices and tools.


Traditionally manufactured using subtractive techniques, many surgical tools and devices now using 3D printing can be custom printed to solve specific problems. 3D printing also allows for the production of traditionally manufactured tools such as clamps, scalpels and forceps in a more sterile form and at a lower cost. 3D printing also makes it easier to quickly replace these broken or aging tools.


5. Prosthetics.


3D printing plays a key role in producing stylish, easy-to-use prosthetics. 3D printing makes it easier to develop low-cost prosthetics for communities in need. Prosthetic limbs are now being 3D printed for war zones such as Syria and rural areas of Haiti, where many people previously did not have such devices due to cost and accessibility constraints.


6. Drug dosing tools.


Pills containing multiple drugs, each with a different release time, can now be 3D printed. These pills make dose adherence easier and reduce the risk of overdose due to patient error. They also help solve problems associated with various drug interactions.


7. Custom manufacturing for medical device companies


Because high-end SLS, DMLS, and Carbon 3D printers can cost $500,000 or more, many medical companies outsource production to a manufacturing-as-a-service company like Xometry. 86% of Fortune 500 medical companies rely on Xometry's 3D printing services and medical injection molding as part of their innovation process. We help the world's largest and fastest-growing companies move from idea to prototype to production faster, thereby increasing their chances of success in the marketplace.



With high-end SLS, DML and Carbon 3D printers that can cost upwards of $500,000, many medical companies are turning production over to Sega. We help medical device companies get from idea to prototype to production faster, which increases their chances of success in the marketplace.


Four reasons why medical device companies trust Sega


1. Manufacturing network: We have a manufacturing network of over 1,000 manufacturing partners, including those specializing in medical devices, dentistry, and custom fixtures


2. Extensive capabilities: In addition to 3D printing processes, we also offer CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, hand re-molding and injection molding (including overmolding and insert molding, etc.), which allows us to manufacture parts at any stage of the product lifecycle


3. Medical materials: Sega offers immediate quotes on PEEK and 17-4PH stainless steel and 316L, as well as a range of other materials


4. Proven results: Fortune 500 companies and many of the fastest growing small companies in the industry use Sega to make parts



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