3D Printing – Slowly taking over Medical Devices industry?
3D Printing Medical Devices has been the talk of the town for the past few years, with the cost of printers plummeting and becoming a consumer good. Aside from its use for prototyping components, 3D printing medical devices are new. Recently, however, there have been some developments with technology that make it a viable process for mass production of components. Several weeks ago, I posted about the Franhofer Institute’s ability to print multiple plastics, ceramics, glass and metals in a single piece.
An article in the MIT Technology Review highlights High Packard’s new jet fusion technology for high-speed printing of high-strength plastic components. Printing speed and part strength are the main limiting factors with 3D printing of product-quality components. If HP technology is really competing with the speed and part performance characteristics of injection molding, it is the perfect game-changer. 3D printing medical devices allow the construction of parts that have very complex geometry, parts that cannot be produced economically by any traditional method. With injection molding, good part design prevents the presence of undercuts on the part of the practice. With 3D printing medical devices, it is no longer a barrier. Not having to worry about undercuts on the part means that designers are free to create the geometry of any interior parts they can imagine – capillary structures like veins and other anatomical geometries are all possible. The parts that are impossible to achieve can be provided from here to the front. The real advantage of 3D printing medical devices is the same, and if HP technology reports as quickly and consistently as possible, it will make significant progress that will revolutionize the design of medical devices