3D Printing Makes its Way to the Medical World

Healthcare Training Resource
November 27, 2013 — 1,109 views  
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In a recent conference on 3D printing, the authorities said that there will be an increase in the usage of 3D printing in the coming two years. This growth will be specifically seen in the printing production of medical aids and wearable devices. This 3D technology will become much more popular and easily available once the printing materials as well as printers become cheaper.

For a long time, industrial designers have been dependent on 3D printing for coming up with scale models of prototypes and products quickly. The awareness and hype created for this kind of printing has grown a lot in the past few years. This has made it quite clear that 3D printing technology will be used in various industries including medical devices industry, aerospace and even for making models for architecture.

3D printing to get much more popular

Bryan So Man Kit, who is a biomedical engineer and a senior consultant in the Hong Kong Productivity Council, said that 3D printing is all set to grow at a much faster rate in the future and will prove to be beneficial for a lot of sectors.

He also said that this technology has been maturing day by day and is becoming a lot more common. This is being considered as one of the main factors behind the growth of this technology in the production of medical devices and wearable devices.

He said that professional users will greatly benefit from it as it will find many applications in medical device manufacturing as there will be a need of lot of these in our ageing society.

Tackling the obstacles

Bryan mentioned that one of the biggest obstacles in using this technology for creating customized medical implants would be the need of obtaining safety certification for certain processes like sterilization of devices. He said that Hong Kong Productivity Council is helping professionals of the 3D printing industry on obtaining quality management certification.

Till that issue gets sorted out, the industry professionals will focus on what is available. It currently focuses on using the technology for making surgical aids as the manufacturing criteria for these are not very strict.

Thomas Yang, the general manager of Logistic Technology Corp in Taiwan said that important patents of one of the forms of this technology will be expiring next year. This form, known as laser sintering is a lot more cost efficient and offers high resolution that too in all the three dimensions.

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