Welcome to this month’s AM Focus Medical. For the entire month of February, we are going to zoom in on the many possibilities that additive manufacturing is offering today to medical companies. This segment of AM is literally booming and incredibly exciting. In this first episode, we are taking a closer look at Stryker additive manufacturing activities. Upcoming episodes will include many different types of players in this segment, ranging from highly innovative startups to giant multinational corporations. Stay tuned because it’s going to be a lot to take in. But don’t worry, at the end of the month all the best content will be featured in 3dpbm’s Medical AM Focus 2020 eBook.
Active in over 100 countries around the world, Stryker is one of the world’s leading medical technology companies. The company offers a diverse array of innovative products and services in Orthopedics, Medical and Surgical, and Neurotechnology and Spine.
Stryker was an early investor in Concept Laser and Arcam machines (both now GE Additive). The company’s investment in additive manufacturing began in 2001 and, since then, Stryker has collaborated with leading universities in Ireland and the UK to industrialize 3D printing for the healthcare industry. Additive manufacturing allows Stryker to address design complexity and achieve previously unmanufacturable geometries.
These include Tritanium Technology, which allows for the creation of porous structures designed to mimic cancellous bone in pore size, level of porosity, and interconnectivity of the pores. This “precise randomization” of fully interconnected pores differs from other technologies featuring longitudinal channels and traverse windows that result in a uniform lattice structure, as well as cages offering porosity that is only present on the surface.
Tritanium Technology is now implemented in dozens of models for spine, joint and hip replacement implants. Among these, the cementless Knee Arthroplasty with Triathlon Tritanium is the latest evolution in the Triathlon knee portfolio, which combines the kinematics of Triathlon with the latest in highly porous biologic fixation technology. The innovation of Tritanium’s tibial baseplate and metal-backed patella components are enabled by Stryker’s proprietary AMagine Additive Manufacturing technology.
In 2017, GE Additive and Stryker entered into a partnership agreement to support Stryker’s growth in additive manufacturing. The agreement covers new additive machines, materials and services for Stryker’s global supply chain operations.
In late 2018, Stryker had acquired K2M in a high profile merger. With annual sales approaching $300 million, K2M brought to Stryker’s Spine division a highly complementary and innovative portfolio, which includes a strong position in the complex spine market. Additionally, K2M’s broad portfolio strengthened Stryker’s Spine offering in the core spinal segment, furthering Stryker’s capabilities in additive manufacturing. K2M recorded a double-digit compounded annual growth rate over the previous five years.
Stryker has also developed its 3D printed spine implant solutions internally; however, the acquisition of K2M brings Stryker to a leading position in the spinal segment to augment its position in additively manufactured knee implants.
The other major role Stryker has in the additive orthopedic space is as a leading R&D player, which was taken to new levels in 2019 with the $200 hundred million investments in its Cork, Ireland research facility. This venue now serves as a primary hub for additive activities, research and production of non-K2M devices.
In 2019, Stryker invested more than 6% of its global sales into research and development. This R&D program positions the company at the leading edge of advances in medical technologies of the future and consists of investments in projects at its AMagine Institute, which develops additive manufacturing products for three divisions, Spine, Craniomaxillofacial and Joint Replacement, as well as its Neurovascular business, which develops stroke treatment products.