MedicalProsthetics

Glaze Prosthetics uses HP MJF 580 3D printer to internalize production

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Glaze Prosthetics, a market expert in the production of highly personalized prosthetic arms, has invested in an HP Multi Jet Fusion 580 Colour 3D printer, to take its entire production process in-house and to target a new application that aims to drastically reduced post-processing times.

Founded in 2017, Glaze Prosthetics was born after one of its founders 3D-printed a customized prosthetic arm for a friend. The founders saw a gap in the market for amputees wanting a light and durable prosthetic arm that also allowed them to express themselves by adding a personalized touch. Based in Krakow, Poland, Glaze Prosthetics has since grown to boast a worldwide customer base and is one of the only specialists in upper limb prosthetics. It is also the only company in the world that allows patients to choose the model, color, and finish of their prosthetics, and even design and order online.

Previously, Glaze worked with an external service provider using an HP Multi Jet Fusion 4200 printer to produce its orders. However, as the business started to grow, Glaze saw the economic benefits of moving its entire production in-house and chose to invest in a Multi Jet Fusion 580 model following a product demo.

Since investing in an HP Multi Jet Fusion 580 color printer, Glaze has been able to focus on a new application, which sees the company digitizing its processes and working directly with clinicians to speed up previously lengthy workflows, allowing Glaze to produce and deliver customized prosthetics within 7-14 days.

Currently, many manufacturers of prosthetics face the difficult task of manufacturing a variety of components which is often a slow and long-winded process. Glaze’s aim is to erase this lengthy production process and transform it into one digital ecosystem, all of which is made possible with HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology.

The new application allows clinicians to take a scan of a patient’s upper socket and upload the measurements onto Glaze’s database. This data is then sent directly to the Multi Jet Fusion 580 machine, which prints the arm in exactly the right shape and size, in the base color of the patient’s choosing.

Direct color printing was one of the main benefits of the Multi Jet Fusion 580 for Glaze and has been an imperative part of the new application. Since the company’s founding, many hours were spent working on post-processing, however, now, customers can choose their preferred design via Glaze’s new application, with the Multi Jet Fusion 580 printing the prosthetic in the exact base color. Although additional details are still required to be painted by hand, the ability to print the prosthetic’s base in color greatly reduces Glaze’s time to market, meaning Glaze can spend more time adding the final touches that are fully tailored to the customers’ design of choice – something on which the company prides itself.

Not only does the combination of the HP Multi Jet Fusion 580 and new application drastically reduce Glaze’s production times, but it also benefits the clinicians, who previously spent 60-70% of their time going back and forth with Glaze submitting measurements. As a patient’s measurements are now sent directly to the Multi Jet Fusion printer via the application, clinicians can spend more valuable time with their patients doing things such as therapy.

“Everyone wants to be part of the digital revolution, yet the prothesis industry is one which is not traditionally born into digital”, said Franek Kosch, Co-Founder, Glaze Prosthetics. “With the help of HP’s 3D technology, Glaze is democratizing digital workflows and giving everyone a chance to be a part of this new revolution.’

Another important factor for Glaze is the weight and durability of its final products. Every aspect of a Glaze prosthetic arm is modular – it has its own elbow system for easy arm movements and a swing system that allows amputees to mimic natural arm movements. It is therefore vital that the outputs are as light as possible, something which is easily achievable with HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology. In fact, Glaze is now able to produce a 1kg bionic hand, the lightest on the market.

The combination of this new application and the Multi Jet Fusion 580 means customers can receive a finished, fully working prosthetic in approximately 1 to 2 weeks. Not only does this drastically reduce staff costs and time, but the new printer has also enabled Glaze to achieve fine detail and high dimensional accuracy which is imperative in ensuring the prosthetic is an exact fit for the customer.

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Andrea Gambini

Andrea has always loved reading and writing. He started working in an editorial office as a sports journalist in 2008, then the passion for journalism and for the world of communication in general, allowed him to greatly expand his interests, leading to several years of collaborations with several popular online newspapers. Andrea then approached 3D printing, impressed by the great potential of this new technology, which day after the day pushed him to learn more and more about what he considers a real revolution that will soon be felt in many fields of our daily life.

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