The medical additive manufacturing sector – which is starting now to include some areas of bioprinting – is today one of the largest adopters of 3D printing technologies for the production of consumer-targeted, end-use items, including prosthetics and orthotics, implants, devices and physical models.

In this month’s AM Focus on medical additive manufacturing, we are going to hear from some of the large companies and innovative startups that have taken the possibilities offered by AM in various medical fields to new heights and built this sector into what can already be described as a multi-billion dollar opportunity (according to exclusive data provided by SmarTech Analysis).

The use of 3D printing technologies extends well beyond 3D printed implants. Surgical guides and pre-surgical models are widespread, so much so that they can, in a way, be compared to the broad adoption of AM for prototyping and tooling in the industrial manufacturing arena.

Leading AM hardware manufacturers, such as 3D Systems, EnvisionTEC, EOS and SLM Solutions, along with leading global service providers like Oerlikon, Jabil and Materialise, are investing heavily to develop both medical and dental AM applications. Medical products powerhouses like StrykerDePuy SynthesZimmer Biomet (these two merged in 2015), and Smith & Nephew, are conducting R&D with AM for a range of innovative devices. Stryker was among the earliest adopters along with medium size international firm Lima Corporate.

The list of orthopedic contract manufacturers offering AM production services today is growing rapidly, with 3dpbm’s Index listing nearly 50 manufacturers of varying sizes. Some of these companies have been utilizing AM in a significant manner for more than a decade and are beginning to look beyond just the design and production of existing implant types in titanium using additive manufacturing.

While the benefits of AM technologies for personalized medicine and more efficient surgical practices are well documented, several hurdles still exist that are limiting a more widespread adoption of these key technologies in hospitals and medical practices. Several of these hurdles are inherent to AM technologies and related material availability, however, the biggest challenges result from a general lack of awareness and skepticism, resulting in a slow pace of adoption.

Today, significant strides are being takenmainly in the private segmenttoward the development of advanced polymers, metals and ceramics fit for implantation in humans. The private dental segment is going through a full-size boom in the adoption of AM technologies and processes. With this month’s AM Focus we hone in on the latest advancements and take a look at the upcoming opportunities for medical AM.

  • An example of Candid's clear aligners and the scanning kit used to customize them.

    Candid and Carbon partner to produce clear aligners for orthodontics

    3D-printed orthodontics have come a long way in the past three years, and Carbon and Candid’s new  partnership to produce models for clear aligners that straighten teeth is grist for this mill. Carbon’s L1 printers and DLS process allow Candid to introduce Candid Pro, its “orthodontics-as-a-service” doctor-driven clear aligner therapy.…

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  • ZARE acquires majority stake in medical and dental AM devices firm Proxera

    After joining the BEAMIT Group, ZARE has now acquired a majority stake in the additive manufacturing (AM) medical company Proxera. As a result of this acquisition, one of the leading metal AM service providers in Europe will now also enter the high-growth market for 3D printed metal implants. The Proxera…

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  • LimaCorporate HSS

    First 3D printers installed at LimaCorporate ProMade PoC Center at HSS in NYC

    LimaCorporate installed the first EOS metal LPBF (DMLS) 3D printers to the new ProMade PoC Center for Complex Orthopedic Solutions at HSS in New York City. The ProMade PoC Center will also host EBM printers when it will be officially inaugurated later this year. The company, originating in Northern Italy,…

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  • Nexa3D's printer, which will be deployed with Keystone to manufacture products for the dental industry.

    Nexa3D and Keystone partner to deliver AM to the dental industry

    Nexa3D‘s NXE 400 3D printers will be able to use all Keystone KeyPrint 3D printing resins for the global dental industry. This includes Keystone’s FDA-cleared night guard resin, KeySplint Soft and KeyModel Ultra. All Keystone precision dental resins are manufactured in the USA, and available through Nexa3D’s expanding global channels.  The…

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  • Medical devices: building the manufacturing future at 3D MedLab

    Once thought destined mainly for prototyping, additive manufacturing is now increasingly employed in the development of spare parts, small series production and tooling in forward-thinking manufacturing industries such as aerospace, electronics, automotive and medical devices. Among industries at the forefront of innovative manufacturing, the medical sector has emerged as a…

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  • A.D.A.M.'s graphic interface

    A first look at 3D printed bioresorbable bone implants from A.D.A.M.

    Advanced Development of Additive Manufacturing (A.D.A.M.) is on the cusp of releasing 3D printed bioresorbable bone implants. The implants would, if successful, be completely absorbed by the body. Recovery times would improve; patients would undergo fewer surgeries; the implant is personalized to each patient. The application for this technology needs…

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  • Aprecia and Battelle partner to develop AM in pharma

    Aprecia and Battelle have concluded a long-term partnership that will expand Aprecia’s capacity to manufacture pharmaceutical products using 3D-printing. The collaboration focuses on integrating additive manufacturing equipment through Aprecia’s entire supply chain, from clinical supply through to commercial sale. The standard merits of AM are also in view: the pharmaceutical…

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  • Medacta expands knee portfolio with 3DMetal femoral cones for knee revision

    Swiss medical company Medacta officially initiated the commercial use of 3DMetal Femoral Cones for revision knee arthroplasty after successfully receiving clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CE marking. 3DMetal is an advanced biomaterial, manufactured utilizing EBM 3D printing technology. Built upon the clinical success of 3DMetalTM…

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  • Solvay medical grade

    Solvay and PrinterPrezz collaborate on SLS for medical devices

    Solvay and PrinterPrezz are collaborating on 3D printing selective laser sintering solutions (SLS) for implants and medical devices. PrinterPrezz is a trailblazer combining polymer and metal 3D printing, nano-technologies and surgical expertise to design and manufacture next generation medical devices. Solvay has over 30 years of experience supplying high-performance polymers…

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  • he Digital Anatomy 3D printer from Stratasys enables physicians to practice inserting screws for orthopedic applications with biomechanical realism similar to a human anatomy

    Stratasys J750 printer creates ultra-realistic bone models

    Stratasys enhanced its J750 printer to enable printing ultra-realistic bone models, which may be used in biomedical training and research. The printer can now mimic porous bone structures, fibrotic tissue, and ligaments so medical professionals can create models that behave just like human bone. The company has relied heavily on…

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