Additive Manufacturing for Medical Applications
30 Jan 2014
The Medical industry is one of the three fastest growing sectors for additive manufacturing alongside automotive and aerospace. The technology’s success in the medical sector rests with its ability to create orthotics, prosthetic and personalised implants.
Unlike most conventional manufacturing techniques, additive manufacturing creates 3D objects by building matter up rather than removing it. Enabled through computer-aided design (CAD) software, and 3D printers the technique is used to create new, innovative models with unique material properties.
Peacocks Medical Group are currently working with CPI and a number of academic and industrial partners regarding commercialising additive manufacturing for customised orthotics. They were an active partner in the recently completed A‑Footprint project. This was a joint research and innovation initiative with the objective to develop novel ankle/foot and foot orthoses for common disabling conditions, which are cost effective, high-speed to market, and personalised for form and function.
The technology has great potential to change the lives of many disabled people. So far the potential is largely untapped because of factors such as unfamiliar materials, a lack of knowledge in CAD/CAM and cost. Nevertheless, engineering principles and methods are changing through functional integration.
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