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MD&M West Highlights the Future of 3D Printing for Medical Engineering

Feb. 5, 2019
3D printing is already a mainstream staple of the engineering world. The MD&M Conference gives this technology center stage as the one of the future technological innovations for the medical device industry.

The Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) show is the largest medical design and manufacturing show in the country. The event provides a networking opportunity for more than 19,000 design and manufacturing professionals. For those in the medical device industry looking to expand their manufacturing capability, MD&M West is highlighting the power of 3D printing and how the technology platform can elevate several manufacturers to the next level.

“The primary goals of MD&M West are to display the most groundbreaking innovations from the industries we support and to nurture business and networking opportunities for our attendees and exhibitors,” says Nina Brown, vice president of events for show promoter UBM. “[The] 3D printing focus strongly align with this emphasis, and both features truly complement our already robust slate of education and activities at the show.”

Scott Taylor, chief technology officer at Poly-Med Inc., questions those companies that haven’t already added 3D printing to their manufacturing process at a conference in 2018’s MD&M West. “Why aren’t you using additive manufacturing to make your medical devices?” asks Taylor. “I hear your concerns: the production cost is high, you can’t make enough product, the parts aren’t sufficiently strong, or maybe a mechanical feature is preventing you from using additive manufacturing.” However, by taking a deep-dive analysis into the production of a company’s parts, it is easy to justify the use of 3D printing to find areas of improvement.

To defend his case, Taylor describes the process of how engineers at Poly-Med had to add a reinforced ring to a mesh device. By using 3D printing, the company was able to eliminate several process steps compared with the earlier machined process. “The previous process was costly because it was so labor intensive and [additive manufacturing] improved the yield by 80%” says Taylor.

In addition to the conference tracks at MD&M West, the 3D Printing Innovation Summit will focus on metals and new materials, tools and techniques, and new concepts in additive manufacturing. These tracks include advancements in medical device additive manufacturing and bioprinting.

Lee Dockstader, head of Vertical Marketing Development at Hewlett Packard, will lead the “How Healthcare 3D Applications are Going Mainstream” conference. This conference will focus on contract manufacturing and design product development using 3D printing as an essential tool. The conference will include a comprehensive overview of various 3D printing healthcare applications, including injection modeling, that have already crossed over from the prototyping phase to mainstream production.

Steven Pollack, senior staff research scientist at Carbon, will demonstrate teardowns of various medical devices at the “Medical Device Component Teardown: Test Your Savvy & Ask Your Questions” conference. Different product examples will be shown to help identify which components make sense for 3D printing, and which don’t.

Lastly, Matt Stand, president of 3DEO, will lead the “Metal 3D Printing In Medtech: How Medical Devices Will Be Transformed” conference. Stand will focus on how using materials such as steel, titanium alloy, cobalt chromium, and aluminum alloys are changing the design and production methods of orthopedics, surgical instrumentation, medical devices, and dental applications. Stand will show through different real-world case studies how additive manufacturing is impacting how medical devices (especially implants) are becoming more efficient and compatible with the human body.

For more information on the medical conferences offered at MD&M West and the 3D Printing Innovation summit, please see the full conference listing.

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