Of all the promising technology breakthroughs – blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) – none are closer to bringing real change to the way we live and work than additive manufacturing (AM).
Back in 2012, there were a lot of inflated expectations regarding the role that metal 3D printing would soon play in medical device manufacturing. Matt Sand is a product of that hype cycle because it was around that time that he, as an entrepreneur, started getting excited about the possibilities of 3D printing. Today, Sand is a co-founder and president of 3DEO.
The pace of technological growth and change is higher today than perhaps at any other point in human history. Blockchain, artificial intelligence, augmented/virtual reality—the list of potentially revolutionary breakthroughs now at our fingertips is long and growing. Of all the promising nascent technologies out there, however, none is closer to bringing real change to the way we live and work than additive manufacturing.
A close look at the variables that determine final part cost reveals that additive manufacturing can be an efficient solution for many medtech applications—but only if approached correctly.
3D printing has left behind its days as an obscure, fledgling technology of dubious real-world value. In nearly all corners of the modern manufacturing environment, additive manufacturing (AM) is now recognized as a powerful manufacturing technology, particularly when it comes to complex designs and streamlining the supply chain. Still, the perception lingers that 3D printing is impractical for most companies, at least from a cost perspective.
Advances in 3D printing could make medtech mass customization a reality. Matt Sand, president of 3DEO, will discuss the role of 3D printing in medtech in the MD&M Minneapolis session, “3D Printing: The Journey from Prototyping to Production to Metal 3DP.” His October 31 talk will include five tips for moving from prototyping to production.
No matter how you slice it, the spike in industry-wide 3D printing revenues over the past 5 years has been impressive. A close look at that growth, however, reveals something interesting: it’s been disproportionately driven a small handful of vertical markets. Of these select markets, none has been as influential as MedTech. Metal-based additive manufacturing (AM), in particular, has proven to be perfectly suited to meet a number of needs in medical and dental device production.
Metal 3D printing continues to play a key role in driving innovation within the MedTech industry. The process has three primary advantages over traditional manufacturing techniques:
- Mass Customization
- Lower Cost in Low Volumes
- Design Flexibility and Freedom
As technology improves and processes are refined, metal 3D printing has grown increasingly popular and accessible. But even as price points for 3D printers come down and new applications for additive manufacturing are discovered, challenges remain that prevent many companies from utilizing this innovative technology to its full potential.
3D printing is being utilized in a variety of industries due to its high-quality customization capabilities and on-demand manufacturing, among other key benefits. Out in front among the sectors taking full advantage of additive manufacturing technology is the healthcare industry.
The U.S. medical device industry is considered by many to be one of the country’s most innovative business sectors. Not surprisingly, due to the nature of medical devices and the critical issues they address, it is also one of the most highly regulated.