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EOS and IMDS partner up

EOS and Innovative Medical Device Solutions (IMDS) are partnering up to offer extensive product development resources for creating new metal additive manufacturing (AM) designs, according to EOS.

The partnership will allow medical device manufacturer IMDS, Fort Worth, Texas, to manufacture products with patient-benefiting features that are made possible with the use of AM technology, according to the IMDS.

“Until now, using AM for medical devices was considered a high-technology novelty done on a few implants, but mainly used to make quick metal prototypes,” said Dan Justin, chief technology officer for IMDS, in a statement.

“However, recent advances—such as increased materials choices, enhanced manufacturing precision and faster build speeds—have made medical product developers worldwide more willing to co-invest in developing implants made by laser-sintering systems,” Justin said.

EOS IMDS implants

Medical products as complex as this can be made cost-effectively with laser-sintering, according to EOS and IMDS.

For example, most titanium implants are currently manufactured by subtractive machining, followed by adding a porous coating. Now, some implants under development are being built one 20-micron layer at a time on high-precision DMLS machines, according to EOS, Germany, which specializes in designing and manufacturing laser-sintering systems that can create high-quality prototypes and end-use parts.

Each finished product is a functionally gradient single piece that transitions from a precisely shaped porous structure to a less porous, more solid load-bearing structure—a design with significant performance benefits that is not practical to undertake with traditional processes. Other designs in development include patient-specific surgical guides for placement of pins, saws and drills.

In the long term, the partnership will also provide orthopedic companies with a more cost-effective design-to-manufacturing pathway for customized implants—for instance, ultra-thin, bone-conserving hip, knee and shoulder joint bearing implants—digitally designed from patient CT scans. DMLS can build medical products from regulatory approved implant materials such as stainless steel, cobalt-chrome or titanium alloys.

EOS and IMDS will exhibit at the North American Spine Society (NASS) 2012 annual meeting in Dallas, Oct. 24-27, where IMDS will showcase the EOSINT M 280 and laser-sintered display pieces in IMDS booth # 2821. Also on display are parts created with software from WITHIN, an EOS partner and IMDS collaborator.

Posted Oct. 15, 2012

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