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3D printing is becoming more and more popular in the production of medical devices. It works primarily in prototyping and the production of small series of various elements.

The Polish company Emtel uses 3D printing technology for prototyping and even the production of specially selected details for defibrillators and patient monitors. It reduces the production costs of a specific part and allows time-saving. 

Low-volume production and 3D printing

Companies that produce medical equipment often focus on low-volume production. Continuity of work, in this case, depends on external suppliers and the price they propose, which is usually higher when unit production is involved. On the other hand, the competitiveness of medical device manufacturers is determined by the continuous improvement of devices, connected with building and testing prototypes. An optimal solution for entrepreneurs who want to avoid high costs and downtime at work and to easily prepare new versions of their devices may be the introduction of 3D printing technology.

Additive manufacturing technology allows you to shorten the time needed by constructors and engineers to create and test products. Currently, 3D printing has ceased to be seen only as a tool used only for prototyping, evolving towards the printing of final products. Compared to traditional methods, it can positively affect time and cost of production. This is due to the improvement of the quality, reliability and range of available materials in the cheapest FDM / FFF printing technology   Mateusz Sidorowicz  3DGence 

The housing prototype was made using a 3D printer – a modular cardiac monitor

Reducing production costs

The Emtel company, a Polish manufacturer of electronic medical equipment, has implemented 3D printing technology and uses it both in the process of prototyping and manufacturing of ready-made elements of devices.

We print using a 3DGence printer a number of various mechanical details that could, without deterioration in strength and quality, replace some of the traditional aluminum and plastic parts used in our products so far. The use of 3D printing technology allows us to more flexibly adapt to current production needs, reduce costs, as well as some kind of freedom when designing new devices

Wojciech Przybycień, Emtel

 

On the left: Printed model of the patient monitor enclosure. On the right: the target housing of the patient monitor made using injection technology

The housing prototype was made using a 3D printer

In the case of prototyping, 3D technology helps the company to build models of patient monitor cases. Earlier, Emtel commissioned them to be prepared for an external company, which raised costs and extended the duration of the entire process. Thanks to 3D printing, the company achieved a tenfold reduction in costs and shortening the production of housing from 30 to 5 days.

Defibrillators manufactured by Emtel are equipped with 3D printed parts

Production companies are sometimes confronted with problems related to the end of production of components or subassemblies supplied by external subcontractors. In such cases, the most common solution is to look for another sub-supplier, but it is worse in the case of unit or low-volume production. In our case 3D printing turned out to be a solution. Owning a 3D printer and a good knowledge of its capabilities basically immediately suggested a solution to the problem, i.e. own design and production of casings for the defibrillator

Wojciech Przybycień, Emtel

The introduction of additive technology for the production of medical devices has made Emtel decide on the time and number of printed details, and their cost has been reduced from three to five times. The company’s representatives emphasize, however, that every decision to introduce print devices to the production is preceded by risk analysis and tests confirming the correctness of the application.

EMTEL Śliwa (limited partnership) is a manufacturer of electronic medical equipment designed to monitor the biological parameters of the patient and for resuscitation. The basic area of ​​the company’s activity is the production of patient monitors and defibrillators, which are successfully used in Poland, in other European countries as well as in Asia, South America, and Australia.

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