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How medical companies use AM for production today, part 11: AK Medical

For our AM Focus Medical this month we continue to zoom in on the many possibilities that additive manufacturing is offering today to medical companies. After a number of European and North American companies, we now take a look at the Chinese market with AK Medical additive manufacturing. In the previous episodes, we looked at some of the largest companies to operate in this segment, such as Stryker, J&J and GE Healthcare, as well as interesting SMEs and startups, like Osseus and FabRx. Upcoming episodes will continue to include many different types of players in this segment, ranging from highly innovative startups and SMEs to giant multinational corporations. At the end of the month, all the best content will be featured in 3dpbm’s Medical AM Focus 2020 eBook.

Based in Beijing AK Medical operates at Arcam EBM systems primarily to produce its 3D-ACT hip cup implants, though it is likely its internal EBM machine capacity today is as high as 10 systems. This suggests that Beijing AK Medical may be one of the global market leaders in the production of additive hip implants after receiving CFDA clearance for its first design in 2015.AK Medical additive manufacturing

AK Medical Holdings Limited is the medical device company that has commercialized the application of 3D printing technology in orthopedic joint and spine replacement implants in mainland China, rising to a leading position in the Chinese orthopedic joint implant market. The company designs, develops, produces and markets orthopedic implants, with a focus on hip and knee replacement implants. Its products include orthopedic joint implants for primary surgeries as well as those specifically designed for revision surgeries for the replacement, repair or enhancement of an implant or component from a previous procedure.

The 3D Accurate Construction Technology solutions, or “3D ACT solutions”, was first introduced in 2014. The 3D ACT solutions assist surgeons in simulating and planning for implant surgeries, simplify surgical processes, offer personalized surgical instruments and pre-surgery selected implants and improve patients’ recovery experience significantly. AK Medical’s off-the-shelf or 3D-printed models are regulated by the CFDA. The company currently has three types of 3D-printed products, including 3D printed hip replacement implants, 3D printed spinal interbody cages and 3D printed artificial vertebral bodies, all approved by the CFDA.AK Medical additive manufacturing

As of early 2018, AK Medical had 650 distributors for its products, covering all of the Chinese provinces and 23 overseas jurisdictions. The Company also directly sells a portion of its products to hospitals through its wholly-owned subsidiary which holds the relevant distributor license. The Company mainly maintains these direct sales to establish and maintain direct contact with certain key end hospital customers and surgeons.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst for leading US-firm SmarTech Analysis, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he Co-founded London-based 3dpbm. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore, as well as 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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