3D printed prosthetics - a higher level of customisation and less labor time.
“On average it takes 2-3 design iterations before a design is finalized. Through using 3D printing for making prosthetics, we can simply create individual designs in a timeframe that is shorter, more cost efficient and require far less labour.”
The medical industry is known to be most advanced in the way in which new treatments and methods have been developed, not to mention the technologies that drive all of this forward. There has been no shortage of miracles and that continues to happen.
One of the ways in which the medical industry has been improved and enhanced is through the use of 3D printers. 3D printing makes it possible for medical professionals to provide patients with a new form of treatment in a number of ways. For instance, when you consider amputees and their options, they will have to wear a prosthesis that has not been custom designed while the costs are significantly high. However, this is where 3D printing can really make a significant difference to the quality of life.
3D printed prosthetics – the challenge and results
Orto+ now uses a Tractus 3D printer to develop tailor-made prosthetics in a way that comes with a wide range of benefits. The results are quite phenomenal as there is now a level of accuracy that comes with using a 3D printer that has not been seen before. Orto+ now has the ability to create many different kinds of 3D printed prosthetics that are anatomically correct and designed around the needs of each user. Alongside this, the process is also more cost effective and efficient. 3D printing offers them the possibility to alter the whole production process in a way that has never been seen before.
Higher level of customization of the prosthetics
With 3D printing Orto+ now has the ability to create custom devices that are tailored to the specific needs of each patient, ensuring that the designs are anatomically correct. They have complete control as they can rotate, correct and align the models, all of which was not possible with models made of plaster.
The process of creating orthopaedic models using traditional methods involved specialist technicians who have the experience, skills, knowledge and training to manage the task. They had to be able to saw the objects so that they could be put into position. However, it is now completely different because of 3D printing. The whole process is automated while customization is taken to a whole new level.
“3D printing prosthetics has significantly changed the way we create. Via 3D scans and our drawing and modeling software we can generate all the intermediate iterations, right up to the final model. All iterations are then 3D printed, which takes considerably less time than creating the models entirely by hand”.
During the last few years, the materials used to carry out 3D printing jobs have changed considerably. There are now more options available which has resulted in a vast improvement in the design and functionality in the production of orthopaedic tools.
New composites and hybrid plastics make it possible to create prosthetics that have improved strength and are lightweight. Through selecting the correct materials and combining them with designs that are completely accurate and precise, the patients benefit from an enhanced quality, comfort and freedom. Ultimately, comfort and function are on top of the list of priorities and therefore, determine the success of the produced object.
This has resulted in that many of the prosthesis-making-materials that are available today being outdated and so, the future looks as though it will be dominated by materials that have been designed for new production techniques like 3D printing.
- Faster models, all iterations can be printed at the same time
- 10 times less labor involved
- Higher quality of prosthetics
- 3D printed prosthetics material costs: 90% less
Advantages of 3D printing prosthetics
The introduction of a Tractus3D printer in to their working methods and processes has enabled Orto+ to improve their levels of efficiency while reducing their labour costs. It is now possible for all iterations to be printed simultaneously and this makes it possible to use the time that they save here on other tasks and aspects of the process. It also means that there is no need to create a model that they have to continually work on by hand.
Orto+: “The process before using Tractus3D printers was very long. Every iteration had to be handmade. Now, all iterations can be printed at the same time and we can ensure consistent, reliable results. The level of detail of the 3D printed prosthetics is impeccable.”
Using traditional methods, creating custom devices took a lot of time and effort. They had to contend with unforeseen problems and had to rely on the available manpower. Should a member of the team be sick, it meant that the process would be delayed until he returned. Therefore, the process could take days. In contrast to this, using a 3D printer for making prosthetics has enabled them to design and print in just a few hours.
The 3D printer is so accurate that the custom prosthetics can be designed and sent to print in very little time. That means that they can put deadlines and timeframes in place that ensure they meet their high standards and promises.
Creating custom prosthetics and orthotic devices requires a significant amount of detail. When the process was completed manually, there was a risk of human error and this would set them back in terms of cost and time. However, making 3D printed prosthetics has enabled them to make several iterations before it is printed, helping them to identify any potential errors, ensuring that the final product is perfect.
For any business, saving money is vital and Tractus3D printers have enabled them to make significant savings and increase output. The materials used in traditional methods could prove to be costly while the time it took to create the parts by manually meant that the specialist had to focus on the project in hand. They no longer need to focus on one project because they now can print a number of parts simultaneously, increasing their output by a considerable amount. Alongside this, it means that the staff can work on different projects at the same time, again, enabling them to create more parts in a shorter time. There is no requirement for Orto+ to operate the printer and so, they can set it up and leave it run while they focus on other aspects of the process.
It is a competitive world and it is common for designs to be taken and adapted by competitors and so, there was very little confidentiality. However, 3D printing has now changed all of this because Orto+ can keep all of the design in house. They can keep everything confidential and make subtle changes when required without concerns over whether the design would be copied or not. This can help them to offer a specialised and bespoke service that cannot be replicated elsewhere. This level of versatility has enabled them to spend time working on future projects knowing that everything they do is kept safe from others. As the designs are made using a computer, they can be saved and shared with those they trust and that also enables them to work confidentially.
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