Medical 3D printing has been revolutionising the medical manufacturing industry for the past few decades, and the last decade has been especially interesting. Penetration of 3D printing manufacturing processes has completely redefined traditional processes in various medical departments while simplifying medical access for patients.
Medical 3D printing basically adds the power of customisation to medical devices and equipment for hospitals and doctors. It unlocks new types of materials, shapes, and complexities to solve medical challenges.
The best way to understand the impact, role and commercialisation of 3D printing in the medical world is by exploring its applications/use cases.
#1 Prosthetics and implants
Prosthetics and implants represent the area with the biggest impact from medical 3D printing. Customisations play a big role in creating prosthetics for patients, both children and adults. These often need changes from time to time, and getting customisations done from mass manufacturers is a big challenge.
Medical 3D printing gives the power of customisation to doctors and enables them to solve complex medical problems which were not possible earlier. Some other benefits include:
- Cost optimisation
- Reduced time
- Experiment with different materials and shapes
#2 Dental implants and other parts of digital dentistry
From scanning to printing dental implants, 3D printing is bound to become an integral part of the dentistry world. Different use cases of 3D printing that are used widely are:
- Dental implants: Replacing teeth for people is a customised manufacturing task, and 3D printing allows dentists to print teeth shapes on demand. Precise manufacturing allows for shapes with comfortable bite ability, smile shape, and other personal factors.
- Dental guides: Next step in line after manufacturing implants is placing them in the right place, which has traditionally been a challenge for dentists. Dental guides make it easier for dentists to place implants in the right place.
- Dental aligners: 3D printing allows for fast and highly customised production of aligners based on 3D scans. SLA and DLP 3D printing technologies are being widely used for these purposes.
- 3D scanning: 3D scanners allow dentists to digitise complete mouth models of patients, which simplifies 3D printing and studying dental challenges.
- Other dental equipments: 3D printing is also used in producing specific dental equipments, especially that require customisations.
#3 Rapid prototyping of medical devices (this helps reduce cost and increase speed multi folds)
The medical devices world has been evolving over the past few years, and sectors like medical wearables have become part of everyday life for a large chunk of the population. This widespread use means that companies have to change their approach often and test new features and use cases of medical devices.
This is even true for doctors who use different types of devices and equipment and might want to bring changes to their processes. Medical 3D printing allows for rapid prototyping of any such device, which was earlier done by creating expensive dies and setting up large manufacturing setups.
Be it inhalers, surgical equipment, or a unique idea of a smart wearable, testing production with 1 prototype has been made possible with 3D printing, allowing for innovation and ease of manufacturing.
#4 Rapid tooling for moulds, patterns, and casts
While rapid prototyping helps create medical devices and parts, rapid tooling simplifies the process of creating moulds, patterns, casts, and dies for traditional manufacturing methods.
For example, rapid tooling is used to create the dental aligners that we discussed above.
#5 3D printed surgical instruments
The list of surgical instruments that are being produced with Medical 3D printing keeps on increasing as more and more medical professionals research on improving surgical procedures.
Some examples of surgical equipment produced with 3D printing include needle drivers, forceps, medical clamps, and hemostats.
Benefits of 3D printing
Medical 3D printing is impacting almost every aspect of the medical industry, which includes benefits like:
- Cost optimisation of MedTech devices with the help of rapid prototyping and rapid tooling to test new materials and structures
- Customisations specific to patients and specific use cases
- Time reduction for the production of devices, implants, and instruments
- Increased accessibility of technology all over the world
- Creating lighter parts
- Increased strength and security for MedTech devices
3D printing MedTech devices with Karkhana.io
Most MedTech companies consider engaging 3D printing processes for their manufacturing ideas, but what stops them are industry challenges like difficulty finding reliable manufacturers, expert help for manufacturing plans, high-cost estimates from manufacturers, and limited knowledge of standard operating processes.
Karkhana.io has solved these challenges for MedTech companies and has made medical 3D printing seamless. We help companies with rapid prototyping, small batch-large volume production, product localization and even product assembly.
Using our digital manufacturing platform, you can simply upload CAD designs to access a wide range of 3D printing technologies, including fused deposition modeling (FDM), stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), DLP (Digital Light Processing), polyjet 3D printing, and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). You can also choose from numerous material types.
After just uploading the CAD designs of the parts you want to be manufactured, you get access to instant quotations, DfM feedback via our expert engineers, end-to-end project management, sharing project files within your organisation, view your CAD files, regular QC, regular order updates, audits of suppliers, logistics, payments, and more.
Want to supercharge your MedTech manufacturing and growth plans with 3D printing? Start by registering on our digital platform.