Want to know what’s happening in the Additive Manufacturing and 3D printing industry? Here’s All3DP’s weekly report for professionals, written by former 3dprint.com editor-in-chief and industry expert Sarah Goehrke.
Industrial technologies are seeing medical advances, financial support, logistics impact, and more as we explore this week’s latest updates in professional 3D printing.
Last spring, 21-year-old Katie Stubblefield became the youngest recipient of a full facial transplant — a list of only about 40 people worldwide who have undergone such a procedure.
Stubblefield’s long recovery from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 2014, when she was only 18 years old, included many surgeries and hospitalizations before the decision was made to proceed with a face transplant in 2016. After spending a year on the donor waiting list, a match was found; a 31-year-old woman, Adrea Schneider, whose slightly larger face and darker skin tone led the surgical team to believe that a complete transplant, rather than partial, would be in Stubblefield’s best interest. Her parents agreed, and in a 31-hour procedure, surgeons effectively replaced 100% of her facial tissue and musculature.
Such a procedure is incredibly complex — Stubblefield’s operation is believed to be only the 39th to have been performed — and requires very careful planning. The surgical team at the Cleveland Clinic turned to 3D printing and virtual reality to come up with the ideal plan of action.
“In a case of cooperative surgical innovation, the face transplant team utilized surgical rehearsal, 3-D printing and virtual reality as the main platforms for preoperative planning. These platforms helped optimize the accuracy, aesthetic and functional outcomes for the transplant,” the Cleveland Clinic explained in a press release.
CNN reports that plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Gastman and his team used jaw CT scans of Stubblefield’s sister, Olivia McCay, in order to create a 3D printed model to use as a template for the reconstruction. Because the sisters shared similar bone structure prior to Stubblefield’s wound, the jaw redesign could be made to be more natural; the medical team reconstructed close to 90% of her lower jaw using 3D printing.
“We made a plate designed for the combination of Katie and her sister’s jaw, and that’s what we used to make Katie’s jaw before we did the transplant,” Dr. Gastman said.
A full look at the procedure is available via National Geographic.
What the University of Sydney refers to as a “magic pen” is, in fact, a 3D printing pen called the iFix that was designed to treat eye injuries.
The iFix, developed by the Save Sight Institute led by Professor Gerard Sutton, received pre-seed and seed funding through the Big Idea grant and this week was announced as the recipient of an $AU1.1 million grant from the NSW Medical Devices Fund.
The University of Sydney notes that corneal ulceration is a common affliction, and the treatment offered through the iFix pen could aid the approximately 55,000 Australians who seek treatment annually for the condition. The iFix bioprints material onto the eye, sealing wounds as well as promoting active healing and reducing scarring. The newly awarded grant will help the pen move toward commercialization.
“The iFix pen is one part of an overall corneal bioengineering project and, with the support from The Big Idea and the Medical Devices Fund, we are also hoping that within the next five to 10 years, we will be able to develop a 3D bioengineered cornea,” said Professor Sutton.
Next up for iFix is phase 1 human trials next year following the current animal testing.
Researchers point to 3D printing as an area of interest in developing new approaches to treatments to help diagnose and care for children born with birth defects. A special issue of Birth Defects Research, published by the Tetralogy Society with John Wiley & Sons, provides a look into strategies for incorporating the technology into treatment plans.
Several studies are gathered for review in the issue to share expert looks into 3D printing, bioprinting, and virtual surgery in diagnosis and patient care. Birth defects including complex cardiac defects and craniomaxillofacial congenital abnormalities, as well as applications such as the elimination of bacterial growth on implants are examined in the issue.
“Birth defects are often extremely complex and challenging to treat and differ from one individual to another. The reviews chosen for this issue illustrate how 3-D printing strategies may help to improve treatment for a growing child with birth defects to avoid multiple surgeries over time, and why they are being considered for use in many clinics as an essential tool for individualized education and medical therapy. Models provided by 3-D printing allow for practicing complex surgical or other interventions that could greatly improve outcomes,” said Michiko Watanabe, PhD, co-editor of the special Birth Defects Research issue and professor of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
3D printed implants for use in the human body must undergo rigorous testing, and an increasing number are being cleared by regulatory agencies. This week, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearance was announced for The Foundation 3D ALIF device from St. Louis-based CoreLink.
The Foundation, a 3D printed titanium anterior lumbar interbody (ALIF) device, features an open-pore architecture due to the company’s proprietary Mimetic Metal technology. Mimicking the features of natural bone, the device — as well as others in the Foundation family — has a low modulus.
“The Foundation 3D ALIF demonstrates our increasing capabilities with 3D printing titanium alloy,” said CoreLink CEO Jay Bartling. “We’re proud to have the largest ALIF cage footprint on the market, which will allow surgeons to maximize endplate contact area and hold up to 8cc’s of graft.”
Good news for fans of both metals and ceramics as the Nebraska Department of Economic Development has awarded an Academic R&D grant to Omaha-based Tethon 3D, in partnership with the University of Nebraska, to design and produce a new ceramic/metal 3D printer.
The grant will fund a project for what Tethon 3D says is to be the first commercially available ceramic and metal-focused desktop DLP 3D printer. “A Novel DLP 3D Printer Optimized for Ceramics and Metals,” the collaborative project, will also serve to launch a new hardware line for Tethon 3D, which currently offers SLA, DLP, and binder jetting in its portfolio.
“While there are more than a dozen SLA and DLP 3D printers that work well and are compatible with our UV curable ceramic and metal materials, they are all designed for plastic polymers. By optimizing a DLP printer for ceramics and metals and formulating our materials specifically for this enhanced printer, the industry can produce stronger and higher resolution ceramic and metal 3D printed parts with the convenience and lower expenses of desktop DLP technology,” said Tethon 3D CEO Karen Linder.
“Our printer will create new opportunities for designers to develop complex ceramic and metal components and will enable higher volume manufacturing of 3D printed ceramics and metals. We are passionate about creating new markets, fabricating designs that were previously impossible and disrupting existing manufacturing approaches.”
3Dcopysystems, based in Graz, Austria, is bringing a fashionable approach to 3D scanning with its US market entry. With its 64-DSLR-camera array in the BIG ALICE system, up to six people can be fully scanned, head to toe, in 3D — and the setup proved to be a hit at the June 14 FIT Annual Awards Gala, where designers and models gathered at NYC’s Fashion Institute of Technology.
Full body 3D scanning can come into play for fashion by providing a full digital model of individual bodies, enabling designers to customize clothes for the perfect fit. 3Dcopysystems notes that its ALICE setup — both BIG ALICE and her little sister, the fittingly named LITTLE ALICE — produces a 3D model of each occupant accurate to 1mm or less, as well as a high-resolution texture map. The company notes that data is also compatible for use in 3D printing and in producing body measurements. 3Dcopysystems is additionally studying movement, with plans to move next into 4D scanning.
“The extraordinary quality of our high-resolution 3D scans and the associated texture surprised and inspired the fashion experts at FIT and introduced them to new possibilities for the individualization of fashion products. In the medium term it could revolutionize personalized textile production and the online shopping experience. Partnerships with shopping centers and fashion shows are in the cards, and a few international US companies have expressed their interest in cooperating with us. We are proud to announce that our US business will be led by our distributor, Barton Hetrick from Looking Glass Arts,” said 3Dcopysystems Managing Director Christof Kirschner.
As manufacturing continues to digitize, 3D printing is enabling major changes to the shape of the global supply chain. RSA Global has announced a new exclusive strategic partnership with Immensa Technology Labs. Both companies are headquartered in the UAE and together seek to develop digital inventory and virtual warehouse solutions, enabling on-demand inventory production capability.
Noting that logistics companies such as UPS and FedEx have already begun to integrate additive manufacturing into their businesses, Immensa CEO Fahmi Al Shawwa lauded RSA Global for joining “this technological evolution… which will provide impressive added value by freeing up cash and reducing shipping and storage costs through a virtually managed inventory.”
TWI, together with a variety of project partners, is working through the Innovate UK-supported three-year Open Architecture Additive Manufacturing (OAAM) project to develop three new DED technologies to scale additive manufacturing capabilities up for aerospace applications in the UK.
The new platforms to be developed through OAAM include arc-wire / laser-wire; electron beam wire; and laser-powder / laser-wire additive manufacturing. TWI notes that the systems, unique in execution, will work toward common needs laid out as:
• Scalable architecture solutions, with common CAD/CAM control interfacing.
• Integrated process steps (NDT, Machining, Inspection, Cold-work etc.) as necessary for optimum implementation to aerospace requirements.
• Ability to manufacture aerospace components using AM to TRL 6 or MCRL 4/5.
License: The text of "3D Printing Industry Report – Week 33 / 2018" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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