What are the Medical Applications of Rapid Prototyping?

The Medical industry has been transformed by the advent of rapid prototyping and 3D printing. These have opened the industry to new applications we briefly discuss in this article.

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Figure 1 showing various RP structures Picture courtesy of MCP HEK

Specific medical applications of rapid prototyping

Here are some specific examples of the use of this technology in the medical industry:

  • Alternative doses – rather than offer one size fits all, specific dose size (for tablets) could be produced, which slightly vary to a patient’s needs (this is especially applicable to children, where their size differs greatly)
  • Improved quality – existing medical products, devices, parts, equipment, etc. can be improved in quality with possible objectives being stronger, lighter versions etc.
  • Patient specific models – development of patient specific parts, e.g. prosthetics, dental products, etc.
  • Reduced time to market – is extensively used to reduce the time taken for products to reach the market
  • Training aids – prototypes/models can be developed to:
    • practice complex operations on models first, rather than “test” on live patients (realistic effects such as blood type substances for specific cuts can be added)
    • aid the training of new medical staff
    • for educating patients as to treatment they will be undertaking
  • User trials – conduct user trials through offering different versions of medical products, which are quickly 3D printed and see which ones perform best

There are additional other applications, but the above will give you an understanding of the opportunities/capabilities.

Manufacturing capability

As well as developing 3D prototypes and models, fiber lasers can also be used for manufacturing runs too, once an application is approved for use beyond the prototyping stage.

Further reading

Also, read the following articles on our site relating to rapid prototyping:

Fiber lasers deliver multi-functional capability

Invest in an SPI Laser and the world of additive manufacturing and prototyping is opened up to you. Fiber lasers have multi-functional capabilities – one laser brings opportunities not just for Additive Manufacturing but also for ablation, cleaning, cutting, drilling, engraving, marking and welding.

SPI Lasers – developing solutions for the medical industry

Here at SPI Lasers we understand the exciting opportunities that fiber lasers represent for the medical industry. We would love to speak to you about our thoughts and also understand your requirements and aspirations. Why not contact us to discuss the capabilities of our fiber lasers range, both pulsed and continuous wave models? We also recommend you subscribe to our regular updates.

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