Shining 3D is one of the leading 3D scanning and 3D printing system manufacturer in China. The company has been investing significantly in innovation and now offers a wider range of 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies than any other company in the world. In a Chinese medical 3D printing market that is literally booming, the company is carving a leading role for itself as a provider of 3D solutions to the medical sector – including healthcare, dental and bioprinting applications – with all the challenges that this may bring to a still relatively young company. We spoke with the company’s marketing director Icy Xie about the state and significant growth potential of the Chinese medical 3D printing market as well as the challenges that both Shining 3D and foreign companies may face when addressing this segment.
3D Printing Media Network: Recently We have been getting inquiries on medical 3D printing in China. Is medical devices an important part of Shining’s business?
Icy Xie: “Yes, healthcare is one of SHINING 3D focus industries, we penetrated our domestic market primarily in three major segments: education, industrial manufacturing and healthcare.”
3DPMN: Which hardware and software systems does Shining 3D provide that can be used to manufacture medical products?
IX: “SHINING 3D is mainly a manufacturer of 3D devices. The EinScan handheld 3D scanner, our iSLA 3D printer, SLS 3D printers, SLM 3D printers and DLP 3D printers have all been used for medical treatment applications, such as surgical plans and osteotomy guides. Dental applications also play a quite an important role in our applications. SHINING 3D has an independent dental department focusing on 3D digital dental solution from scanning to printing. For bio-medical applications, our subcompany Regenovo Biotechnology Co., Ltd is a high-tech enterprise that provides professional integrated solutions in 3D bioprinting technology for medical applications.
3DPMN: Which of SHINING 3D’s 3D printers can be used for orthopedic implants?
IX: “Since the material of 3D printing influences the orthopedic implants, only once both the material and product have been certified they can be applied to the implants. AMsystems for implant productions are categorized in China as grade-3 medical equipment, which have high barriers to entry. SHINING 3D’s SLM metal 3D printer can be used for manufacturing orthopedic implants.”
3DPMN: How is the Chinese 3D printing market evolving, especially in Orthopedics? Is it a rapidly growing market or growth will be slow due to certain factors?
“According to a recent data report, the market size of orthopedic implants in China reached 9.54 billion RMB [about $1.5 billion]16 in 2015. It’s predicted that the size of the market will reach 21.8 billion RMB [$3.3 billion] in 2017.”
As you can see from the report, 3D printing market of orthopedic is rapidly growing in China. Combining 3D technologies and medical treatment provides physicians with many innovations. Currently, 3D technologies mainly apply in surgical planning, intraoperative navigation, postoperative rehabilitation and customization, which offers patients with customized digitalized medical solution. But it takes really a long time to apply the certification of orthopedic implants. The speed of applying certification cannot keep pace with the growing market.”
3DPMN: What is the operating model of Chinese medical companies with respect to hospital collaborations and pricing?
IX: “The hospital will always have a procuring and bidding system before purchasing the medical products by inviting different companies publicly to bid. For example, our dental scanner can be directly sold to hospitals.”
3DPMN: Is there a growing market for company collaborations between Chinese companies and foreign companies?
“SHINING 3D currently cooperates with quite few foreign companies in order to provide our customers with advanced technologies and equipment, as well as the full additive manufacturing solutions.”
3DPMN: Does the Chinese government offer any support to foreign medical services companies to set up manufacturing units in China?
IX: “It depends on local government policy. Some of them have a preferential tax policy to attract foreign investments and companies.”
3DPMN: What is the trend for 3D printed implants which are manufactured in China and exported globally?
IX: “Generally speaking, foreign manufacturers still occupy the largest share market of the domestic market and that goes for 3D printed implants as well. According to the China Orthopedic instrument industry report, 2014-2017, published in 2014, the Chinese orthopedic instrument market is dominated by Johnson & Johnson, Zimmer, Medtronic, Stryker and other foreign companies, together holding 40%-50% market share. Domestic companies are making progress in R&D and production technology in recent years.
3DPMN: Do you expect China to become a preferred manufacturing hub for 3D printed implants?
IX: “Surely, due to the large population base and demands in China, as well as the low unit prices of manufacturing goods. At the same time, China has already permitted particular implants. There is no doubt that China will become a world leading manufacturing hub for 3D printed implants.”