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7 Radically New 3-D Printing Innovations

    3-D Printing Innovations

It is so much more than a prototyping tool these days. Here are seven examples of 3-D printing technology that could revolutionize the medical device industry.

Chris Newmarker

3-D printing is already used for prototyping, surgical models, and prosthetics in the medical device industry. But major medtech companies are now embracing additive manufacturing to use it for much more.

Stryker, for example,is creating a 3-D printing plant in Cork, Ireland after enjoying some success with 3-D printed ortho implants. Johnson & Johnson has forged 3-D printing partnerships with companies including Hewlett Packard, as well as Google-backed Carbon and its high-speed CLIP (Continuous Liquid Interface Production) process in which objects quickly rise out of ultra high-performance urethanes.

Researchers are meanwhile developing 3-D printing technologies that could be even more disruptive in the medical device space.  Derek Mathers, R&D director at Worrell Design (Minneapolis), wishes the device industry had better mechanisms for adoption of the some of the 3-D printing processes presently stuck in the laboratory.

"There needs to be a better bridge to get that out of a research environment and commercialize in a medical device and pharmaceutical environment," Mathers says.

Here are seven 3-D printing research innovations that are especially worth noting.

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See Tim Lew of AxoGen discuss, "Advances in 3-D Printing Capabilities for Medical Device Development," at BIOMEDevice San Jose, December 7-8, 2016.
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