Leading firms today are turning to ‘Additive Manufacturing’ to get their products to market faster. From consumer goods to medical implant devices, companies in numerous segments are leveraging lower cost 3D printers to rapidly prototype parts – even sending them around the world via internet to a local printer.
The WSJ reports (9Apr13) that inHong Kong at the Dental Implant & Maxillofacial Centre, oral surgeons used 3-D printers to create not only a copy of the patient's jaw to plan surgeries, but also a custom-made surgery template to be placed inside the patient's mouth during the operation so the doctor knows exactly where to insert implants. In another case, surgeons at a hospital in Japan recently faced a dilemma before transplanting a parent's liver into a child: How exactly to trim the organ to fit the space in the child's smaller cavity while preserving its vital functions. They took a knife to a three-dimensional replica of the donor's liver built by a 3D printer. The model helped the doctors figure out exactly where to carve it, leading to a successful transplant.
Imagine the possibilities in your manufacturing environment! Instead of shipping the prototype design to a fab shop to get a clay, wood or plaster mockup, think of the value of having a resin deposition model in–hand in just a matter of hours. This is break-through technology that manufacturing firms can embrace.