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With 3D Printing, Stryker Orthopaedics Moves Toward Patient-Specific Implants

Editor Brett Brune


Stryker Orthopaedics is considering working with hospital groups internationally to create a small 3D printer that would turn out customized implants in hospitals, Gene Kulesha, senior director of platform technology engineering at the US firm, told people attending the Mfg4 conference yesterday in Hartford, CT. Five to seven years from now, the partners envision that hospitals will house not only 3D printers but also dedicated design engineers, he said. Full Article

MIT Solar Cells are as Light as a Soap Bubble


Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a solar cell so thin that it can rest on top of a soap bubble without popping it. Though it is years away from being commercially viable, the development shows a new approach to making solar cells that could help power the next generation of portable electronics. The new process is described in a paper by MIT professor Vladimir Bulovic, research scientist Annie Wang, and doctoral student Joel Jean, in the journal Organic Electronics. Full Article

Lasers Advance Medical Device Miniaturization

Scott Sullivan, Business Development Manager, ESI


The trends in medical devices today are clear: smaller, more effective, more reliable and less invasive. Breakthrough devices are continually being developed with the potential to raise the quality of treatment and produce better outcomes for patients. The challenge facing the industry, however, is developing the manufacturing techniques to allow dramatically miniaturized devices to be produced in sufficient volume and at attractive enough prices so they are available to the majority of people requiring them. Full Article

It’s Alive! Wake Forest Bioprints Living Ear, Bone, Muscle

Edited by Senior Editor Michael Anderson


They said they’d do it and now they have. In the cover story of SME’s Medical Manufacturing 2015 yearbook, Anthony Atala and James Yoo of Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM; Winston-Salem, NC) described the process by which they hoped to bioprint living-tissue structures with a custom-designed 3D printer ( Full Article

First FDA-Approved Medicine Created With 3D Printing Now Available

Press Release - Aprecia Pharmacueticals


Aprecia Pharmaceuticals today announced that SPRITAM® (levetiracetam) tablets, for oral suspension, is now available as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of partial onset seizures, myoclonic seizures and primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures. SPRITAM is the first prescription drug product approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that is manufactured using 3D printing technology. Full Article

The Next Step for Bioprinting: 3D Printing Skin

Contributing Editor Ilene Wolff


Bioengineers working toward bioprinting skin for laboratory testing may be part of the answer for clinicians interested in a solution that’s easier on patients for covering severe burns with new skin. In 2015, at least three companies enlisted the help of bioengineers to develop bioprinted skin that could be used for testing cosmetics and consumer preparations, a step that holds promise for testing pharmaceuticals as well. Full Article

Optical Metrology and Automation – a Natural Fit

Contributing Editor Bruce Morey


Automation in manufacturing is more important than ever, reducing costs and improving quality. While it is important in assembling cars, machining engines, or drilling holes in airframes, is it important to metrology operations as well? “Absolutely,” explained Michael Kleemann, engineering manager VRSI (Plymouth, MI). “The evolution of automated measurement is tightly linked with the evolution of automated manufacturing in general. As manufacturing automation becomes more powerful and flexible, it requires more measurement and closed-loop control. Full Article

Medical Machining Tightens Up

Senior Editor Michael C. Anderson


The medical device market finds ways to stay in the headlines in one way or another, whether it’s because of big mergers (such as Medtronic’s acquisition of Covidien) or tax-inversion moves (such as Medtronic’s subsequent relocation of its headquarters to Ireland). Medical device companies and their lobbyists continue to push back against the US medical device tax used to cover some of the costs of the Affordable Care Act. And recalls of medical products certainly get into the media. Full Article

Medical Device Shop Thrives with Multitasking

Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz


Constant innovation is the life force behind business success at Conmed Orthopedics in Largo, FL. The company specializes in medical devices for orthopedic, arthroscopic, and laparoscopic surgery. Conmed Largo currently manufactures about 4300 different part catalog numbers and introduces many innovative new products each and every year. Competition is tough, and Conmed must continuously boost efficiency and shorten product development lead times to get its innovations to market as quickly as possible. Full Article

Nano-Shells Teach Bone how to Repair Itself

Edited by Senior Editor Michael Anderson


Scientists at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) have developed a polymer sphere that delivers a molecule to bone wounds that tells cells already at the injury site to repair the damage.Using the polymer sphere to introduce the microRNA molecule into cells elevates the job of existing cells to that of injury repair by instructing the cells’ healing and bone-building mechanisms to switch on, said Peter Ma, professor of dentistry and lead researcher on the project. Full Article

Advanced Synthetics for Kinder, Gentler Grippers

By Ervin Vallejo, Automation Product Manager, Röhm Products of America


Workholding technology, including end-of-arm tooling on robots and other types of automation, typically targets gripping and handling of mainly heavy, robust metal components. But a growing number of today’s workpieces require a kinder, gentler touch. Full Article

Controlling Quality without a Quality Department

By Rod Bricker, Co-founder and President, Prism Plastics


Maintaining consistent quality is a priority for any manufacturer, elevating the perceived importance of the quality control department. Prism Plastics, however, takes a different approach to quality control. The company operates without a formal quality control department, a radical departure from convention. Full Article

GrindTec 2016 in Augsburg: Multifaceted Trade Fair Appearance by Rollomatic

PRESS RELEASE-- Rollomatic


Fast and reliable tool and cylindrical grinding, high-precision laser machining and state-of-the-art software Rollomatic's solutions are able to satisfy and even exceed this challenging market's demand for ever increasing productivity. In hall 5, booth 5102 at GrindTec in Augs- burg, the company will present some of its high-efficiency grinding machines with new equipment features and soft- ware updates for precise tool production.
Full Article

Medical Metrology Advances

Contributing Editor Bruce Morey


Devices manufactured for the medical community have always presented unique challenges. Medical devices tend to be small and intricate, human compatible, and need to follow strict regulatory guidelines. Adding to the challenge today is that demand for these devices is growing, as are pressures to make the devices in the most cost-effective manner. “We are seeing two trends in medical device manufacturing right now,” said Jeff Petersen, vice president, sales for Fowler Precision (Newton, MA). Full Article

Medical Implants: The Cost of Failure

John McCloy, Founder, Engineered Assurance


Clearly implants have improved the quality of life for millions. But when these devices fail or pose health hazards, the ramifications can be disastrous for the recipient and manufacturer alike.The founder of Engineered Assurance is an expert litigation witness who has been called on to perform a variety of tests to pinpoint areas directly and indirectly contributing to medical implant failure.  Full Article

3D Printed Surgical Tool Transforms ACL Reconstruction

Stratasys Direct Manufacturing press release


DanaMed collaborated with Stratasys Direct Manufacturing to bring its breakthrough Pathfinder ACL device to market. Full Article

Tech Front: Device Lures Cancer Cells Away from Organs

Edited by Senior Editor Michael Anderson


A small, implantable device that researchers are calling a cancer “super-attractor” could eventually give doctors an early warning of relapse in breast cancer patients and even slow the disease’s spread to other organs in the body. The sponge-like device developed at the University of Michigan is designed to attract the cancer cells that emerge in the bloodstream during the early stages of cancer’s recurrence—before tumors form elsewhere in the body. A new study in mice shows that the device attracts detectable numbers of cancer cells before they’re visible elsewhere in the body. Full Article

Albright Technologies Launches Design for Manufacturability Service

Press Release - Albright Technologies


Leominster, MA - November 16th, 2015: Albright Technologies, Inc., the world’s leader in silicone prototyping and production molding, is pleased to introduce its design for manufacturability service to ensure that its customers’ part designs will be manufacturable throughout the product lifecycle. “Our latest service helps us provide better early stage feedback to companies trying to build successful devices quickly and efficiently while addressing many of the complications often encountered at scale up,” said Matt Bont, Director of Operations at Albright Technologies. Full Article

Flexible Flow at ConMed Orthopedics

Edited by Senior Editor Michael Anderson from information provided by Mazak


Constant innovation is the life force behind business success at ConMed Orthopedics in Largo, FL. The company specializes in medical devices for orthopedic, arthroscopic and laparoscopic surgery. ConMed Largo currently manufactures about 4300 different part catalog numbers and introduces many innovative new products per year. Competition is tough, and ConMed must continuously boost efficiency and shorten product development lead times to get its innovations to market as quickly as possible. Full Article

EDM’s Home Field Advantage

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


It used to be that EDM, or electrical discharge machining, was known more for making things that are used to make things, such as molds and dies. Increasingly, EDM is being used to produce final parts. The highly automated process—where electrical discharge sparks are used to cut and shape parts—is viewed as dependable, able to produce quality parts time after time. “A correctly equipped EDM machine has the ability to not only do several EDM processes without operator intervention,” said Bob Ianitelli, president and chief operating officer of Madison Heights, MI-based Belmont Equipment & Technologies. Full Article

A Real-World ‘Invisibility Cloak’? Research Teams See Progress

Edited By Senior Editor Michael Anderson


For decades—since the first season of the original Star Trek series, at least—the world has wondered if something like a “cloaking device” to create functional invisibility would ever be feasible. Now, after a long wait, real progress was reported from two separate sources within a week of each other. Full Article

A Master of Innovation, Precision and Disruption

Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster


Al Siblani is building a modern manufacturing empire, one 3D printer at a time. His company EnvisionTEC, founded in 2002, sells printers that use unique patented methods of building objects, even complex pieces with fine detail, from digital design files. The company’s seven families of printers, which create objects in plastics, fiber-reinforced composite polymers or biologic materials, have infiltrated, and seriously disrupted, a wide range of industries. Six out of ten hearing aids, for example, are now made on Siblani’s printers. Full Article

Plastic Injection Molder Turns to Gun Making

Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz from information provided by Doosan Infracore Machine Tools


In 2006, Jim Pontillo, founder of TRA Medical Inc. (Placentia, CA), saw two distinct trends: his medical mold-making workload was diminishing and demand for guns and gun components was rising. Sizing up TRA Medical’s core competencies, Pontillo saw an opportunity for growth in the development and production of 9-mm handguns. Today, these guns are branded and sold under their own brand FMK Firearms, which is a stand-alone business. Full Article

Panel: Industry, Regulatory Barriers May Hold Back Medical 3D Printing

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


Industry and regulatory inertia may hold back widespread adoption of medical 3D printing, panel members at the Rapid Canada conference said today. Full Article

How Medtronic in Mexico Ran (Nitinol) Rings around Competitors

Senior Editor Michael Anderson


In his WESTEC Keynote, Medtronic VP Mexico Operations Gerardo de la Concha described how a uniquely empowered task force was able to develop an endovascular Nitinol ring at a fraction of the old cost. Full Article

Michelin Group and Fives Join Forces To Become a Major Metal 3D Printing Player



Michelin and Fives today announced the creation of a joint venture aimed at developing and marketing industrial machines and production shops on a global scale via metal additive manufacturing technology commonly known as metal 3D printing. Full Article

Autodesk Within Medical Transforms What's Possible for 3D-Printed Orthopedic Implants



Autodesk Within Medical, generative design software that optimizes 3D printing of medical implants for the orthopedic industry, was unveiled today. The software allows biomedical engineers to create orthopedic implants with micro-lattice porous structures that help properly connect the implants to living bone (osseointegration), and promote development of blood vessels in the surrounding tissue (vascularization) to facilitate healing. Full Article

Fast, Consistent, Critical

Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster


Automation is considered a pillar of success at EVCO Plastics, a custom injection molder of thermoplastic resins based in DeForest, WI. More than 104 robots in all reside in the company’s nine production facilities—three in DeForest, one in Oshkosh, WI, another in Calhoun, GA, as well as three in Mexico and one in China. Bernie Degenhardt, the corporate automation manager, has worked at EVCO since 1987, and oversees automation teams in each production facility. Full Article

3D Printing Orthotic and Prosthetic Devices

Arif Sirinterlikci and Isaac Swink, Department of Engineering, Robert Morris University


3D printing has become the medium of the new technological revolution as its applications diversify from printing food to weapons, from clothing to industrial products. It is also finding more uses in the medical space, including Orthotics and Prosthetics (O&P). According to Constantinos Mavroidis, director of the Biomedical Mechatronics Laboratory at Northeastern University (Boston), for 3D printing to be used on a greater scale in O&P, development and manufacturing times and their associated costs need to be reduced. Full Article

3D Printing Adds the Fourth Dimension (Time)

Lauralyn McDaniel, SME Industry Manager, Medical Manager: Innovation Watch, SME Technology Interchange, Medical Manufacturing Innovations


Designing and printing a device to change over time—4D printing—helped the University of Michigan’s CS Mott Children’s Hospital save three very young lives. Born with tracheobronchimalacia (TBM), which causes the windpipe to collapse and prevent breathing, all three faced what could have been a short, difficult life. Using a combination of medical and engineering skills, the Michigan team built a splint that would hold the airway open, prevent outside compression of the airway, and bend and change as the child grew. Full Article

Materialise Believes X-rays Mark the Spot When it Comes to Improving Knee Replacement Guides

Contributing Editor Ilene Wolff


Materialise (Leuven, Belgium) is out to democratize the patient-specific 3D printed guides that orthopedic surgeons use in the operating room when doing knee replacements. Currently, the only patients who can get a guide are those who’ve had a CT or MRI scan of their arthritic knee. That’s because the US Food and Drug Administration only allows use of those imaging technologies as the basis for making the patient-specific guides. Full Article

John Abele, Co-Founder of Boston Scientific, Honored for Lifetime Achievement

Press Release - UBM Canon


John Abele, will receive the Medical Design Excellence Awards (MDEA) 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award during its annual ceremony on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, at the MD&M East event at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, 4 p.m. in Room 1E15 – 17. Abele founded Boston Scientific Corporation, a medical device company, with his partner Peter Nicholas, in 1979. Full Article

Laser Marking in Medical: The Dark Arts of Dark Marks

Senior Editor Michael C. Anderson


There’s been strong motivation for medical device manufacturers to embrace laser marking in recent years. First, of course, there is the FDA, which has been phasing in regulations for medical devices to have a unique device identifier—a UDI—that is permanent and can be read by machine as well as the human eye. But mature marking technologies are also growing more affordable, even as laser machine builders find creative ways to further develop the process and make their brands stand out. Full Article

How to Succeed in Medical Machining

Iulian Trifan FANUC America


There are opportunities for contract manufacturing companies to become a bigger partner to the OEMs by providing competitive pricing for surgical instruments, spinal/trauma implants and orthopedic devices. Reliability and highly efficient machining processes for high-performance machining are paramount to achieving the lowest total cost of ownership and thereby success in machining these medical devices. Full Article

Small Improvements in Medical

Contributing Editor Ilene Wolff


Medical device maker Donna Bibber put a client’s invention—a one-dose powder medication inhaler—on her web site hoping it might attract a pharmaceutical company interested in acquiring it. After all, she said, her takeaway from a recent pharmaceutical show is that drug manufacturers are trying to eke out more revenue from medications with expiring patents by reintroducing them in new delivery systems.

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Workforce Pipeline: Colliding Worlds: Engineering Meets Biology

Lauralyn McDaniel, Industry Manager - Medical, SME


Medical manufacturing has been a leader in using additive manufacturing(AM)/3D printing for end-use applications for at least 15 years. The combination of 3D scanning of a patient with the ability to print from that scan has made AM a natural fit for things like prosthetics, dental implants, and hearing aid cases. Today, the technology is expanding into new areas including printing implantable devices, bone and tissue scaffolds, and even printing of tissues. Full Article

Measurable Improvements in Medical Metrology

Contributing Editor Ilene Wolff


Last year, metrology machinery makers must have been thinking about Galileo’s advice to “make measurable what is not so.” Hexagon Metrology, Mitutoyo and Optical Gaging Products introduced new or updated software. Mitutoyo and OGP also brought out new telecentric technology, while Leica Microsystems offered a two-fer: a machine that combines confocal microscopy with interferometry. And Zeiss Industrial Metrology introduced a redesigned CMM line that promises to use 60% less compressed air. Full Article

In Medical, Shrinking Devices Grow Supplier Opportunities

Jack Burley VP, Sales & Engineering BIG Kaiser Precision Tooling Inc.


The Affordable Care Act has fueled a national discussion that’s filled airwaves and papers. Less talked about but just as deserving of attention are developments on the practical front of the medical industry. Unprecedented breakthroughs in understanding of anatomy, afflictions and treatments that once confounded us are driving the development of less and less invasive procedures. By nature, the tools used to perform these emerging procedures and deliver treatment are smaller and more precise. Full Article

Bio Printing Expert Warns Against ‘Hype’

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


An expert on bio printing urged caution against “hype.” Full Article

3D Bioprinting Goes Commercial

Contributing Editor Ilene Wolff


They’re not yet on the shelves at Costco, but you can order one on the Internet. Yes, 3D bioprinters and their collateral materials, most familiar in the setting of backpacks and study halls, are moving to the realm of navy pinstripe suits and corporate lawyers scrutinizing collaboration agreements. As 3D bioprinting moves into the commercial space, no less than five companies are marketing printers and biomaterials, one each in Japan, Switzerland (regenHU) and Wales, and two in the United States. Full Article

Out of the Lab, Into the Industry: Microlution Finds a (Very) Small Niche

Contributing Editor Ilene Wolff


A little more than 10 years ago, Microlution’s founders were graduate engineering students at IMTS 2004, and facing an endless stream of visitors curious about the prototype micro-machining center they brought to demonstrate. “We had many companies come by and ask if they could buy one,” said Andy Phillip about the machine he helped build in a lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with classmate Andrew Honegger. Full Article

Medical Manufacturing Research Highlights

Ellen J. Kehoe Senior Editor, Journals & Tech Papers


As extraordinary breakthroughs in medical, dental and surgical materials and devices go steadily mainstream, doctors and hospitals are no longer “just practicing” but are high-tech masters of what researchers’ minds envision. Full Article

Smooth, Fast and Friendly Controls for Productivity

Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak


Machine control providers continue to offer increasingly innovative and intuitive programming solutions for machinists who are demanding more from their CNCs. The latest machine controls come with special features to complement hardware advances and help machinists program the most complex parts with increasing ease and guidance. Many of the latest machine controls, for example, feature embedded intelligence with software algorithms that can automatically select the optimal machining method for a given part.  Full Article

What's Needed to Achieve Scalable Production of Tissues

Lauralyn McDaniel, Industry Manager, Medical, Manager, Innovation Watch, Medical Manufacturing Innovations Series, SME


Producing or growing tissues that could avoid the immune response of donor tissues sounds far –fetched, but in some limited applications has already been achieved. Tissues for drug development testing are already available. Replacement skin is expected to be available within 3 years and to take off quickly. While much progress has been made, there is still much to be done to achieve a scalable production process. The good news is there are two very distinct groups working from very different perspectives.  Full Article

Trends & Themes in the Medical Device Market

Bryan Hughes, Brian Gorski, and Mike Brooks, P & M Corporate Finance LLC


The medical device market has expanded in recent years, driven by longer life expectancy, novel technologies and increased expenditure on healthcare, especially in emerging economies. At the same time, the regulatory environment in North America and Europe has driven a shift to value-based healthcare solutions, which in turn has resulted in increased competition, changing business models, and innovative strategies to achieve sustainable growth in this dynamic market. Full Article

Industry Trends: Medical Instrument and Supply

Jocelyn Phillips , Analyst, IBISWorld


The Medical Instrument and Supply manufacturing industry primarily researches, develops and produces nonelectronic medical, surgical, dental and veterinary instruments and apparatus, such as syringes, anesthesia apparatus, blood transfusion equipment, catheters, surgical clamps and medical thermometers. In the United States, this industry is mature and resilient. Full Article

Delicate Supports, Database Software Improve 3D Printing

Contributing Editor Ilene Wolff


Software engineers are toiling away on applications updates for 3D printing to make work easier for their medical manufacturing counterparts, and have come up with some novel solutions that also save them time and money. “At Formlabs, we’re obsessed with providing the best user experience possible, and we’re always experimenting with new ways to make our products better,” says Maxim Lobovsky, co-founder of Formlabs, which hacked an idea from truss bridges and trees to make 3D printing faster and more efficient. Full Article

Fabricating Success at Clinton Industries

Edited by Senior Editor Michael Anderson


With rising material costs, government regulations, and customers resisting price increases, today there is no room for waste in the metal fabrication supply chain. Here's how one medical OEM partnered with a custom metal fabricator to improve efficiencies.
Full Article

Welding Aids Freezing for Zeltiq

Edited by Senior Editor Michael Anderson


When the medical device manufacturer Zeltiq had trouble producing its revolutionary new fat-freezing product for the “CoolSculpting” process, they brought it to Electron Beam Engineering Inc. (EBE), for a simplified design and an improved welding process. Full Article

3D Systems Introduces Two Medical Training Modules

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


3D Systems said it’s introducing two new training modules for the company’s Simbionix Arthro Mentor training simulator. The Rock Hill, SC-based company said in a statement it’s coming out with a hip diagnostics module and a knee module. The 3D virtual reality training models are intended to improve surgical preparedness and planning for complex orthopedic procedures. Full Article

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