Benefits of Additive Manufacturing: Medical Parts

Medical Implants: Additive’s Advantages in Producing Medical Parts

 

Additive Manufacturing (AM) allows for geometric complexity to create lattice structures for medical parts. Read more about AddUp’s case study on how additive manufacturing reduces production times and costs for the production of implants in the medical industry

OBJECTIVE: Optimize the design for a medical implant using a lattice structure to improve osseointegration and improve overall design making it ideal for additive manufacturing.

RESULTS:

  • Improvement in osseointegration
  • Reduced production times
  • Improved surface finish and fewer post-processing step

Platform of 3D printed spine implants Ti-6Al-4V ELI

History

To ensure the best possible patient care, modern medicine must explore the cutting edge of technology. The medical industry has demanding requirements: complexity and precision of parts, customization, biocompatible materials, durability… One of the challenges in this field is the obligation to adapt and tune care for each patient. The tools or devices used during surgery or for the treatment of patients must be customized. However, these devices are often expensive and highly specialized. Additive manufacturing makes it possible to produce unique, customized metal parts at a reasonable price. At present, custom-made prostheses are the main field of application of 3D printing for the health sector. Using medical imaging, prostheses are adapted for each patient and made of biocompatible materials – most commonly a titanium alloy. For all these reasons, the medical field is one of the industries that makes the most use of additive manufacturing today.

Challenge 

The purpose of an implant is to functionally replace a bone or organ seamlessly for the duration of the patient’s life. To accomplish this, the implant must fully integrate with the patient’s bone and tissue structure. And if traditional production methods are used, providing such implants and prostheses can be very expensive and time-consuming. Thanks to the advanced biocompatible materials available for use in additive manufacturing, more and more medical applications are benefiting from this technology.

Because of their geometric complexity and need for biocompatible material, these medical parts designed by AddUp experts are impossible to manufacture using conventional processes.

Solution 

Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology can print highly complex and customized medical parts using a lattice structure to improve osseointegration, expedite production time and improve surface finish to reduce post-processing.

AM allows for geometric complexity to create lattice structures for medical implants. This creates a porous surface which improves bone integration while simultaneously lightening the implant. For traditional manufacturing to achieve osseointegration, it may be necessary to apply a coating to the titanium, which is very expensive. Additionally, AM reduces the manufacturing steps and the number of components, therefore cutting down production times and costs.

Ti-6Al-4V ELI

The AddUp FormUp 350, a metal 3D printer using powder bed fusion (PBF) technology, showcases its capabilities with the quality of these implants. The FormUp 350 makes it possible to create shapes that were impossible with traditional machining, increasing performance and reliability for the medical industry.

Posterior lumbar interbody Ti-6Al-4V ELI

Results

The implant design and manufacturing process create a porous structure, and optimal surface finish to improve overall bone integration.

  • Increased production – fewer components and fewer manufacturing steps, including less post-processing, means production times are shortened!
  • Geometric complexity – the FormUp 350 offers the freedom to design implants to be geometrically optimized using lattice structures and overhangs, all with minimal support structures required.
  • Reduction in support structures – with the FormUp 350, minimal support structures are required, resulting in less post-process machining and therefore saving time and costs!

    Anterior lumbar interbody Ti-6Al-4V ELI

  • Optimal surface finish – thanks to the roller recoater on the FormUp 350, the surface finish is ideal directly off the printer, resulting in less post-processing time and costs!
  • Functional integration – the AM process and materials create a porous structure and ideal surface finish, which improves overall bone integration for medical applications.
  • Biocompatible materials – FormUp 350 allows various materials to be used.