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Crozet, Virginia – The latest medical 3D printing industry report from SmarTech Publishing projects a disruptive impact for a number of key 3D printing technologies and applications within the multi-billion dollar orthotics and prosthetics (O&P) market over the coming decade. Early research and applications have demonstrated a unique ability for 3D printing to completely revolutionize business models and access to custom and functional prosthetic and orthotic medical devices. Further adoption of 3DP in O&P markets from today’s early innovators is projected to eventually impact an estimated 35 percent of all devices produced, while generating hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact and revenue opportunities for 3D printing solutions.
Early experiments with 3D printing of orthotic and prosthetic devices have proven 3D printing, as a digitally enabled process, can expand access to medical devices through disruptive cost-to-value ratio and flexible on-demand manufacturing.
The report focuses much of its 120 pages of content and market analysis on applications and industry adoption of 3D printing in orthotic and prosthetic devices, including upper and lower extremity prosthetic applications, to the manufacture of orthotic insoles and ankle-foot orthotic style braces.
Report features include:
- Ten year revenue opportunity forecasts for sale of printers by technology, print material by form factor and polymer/alloy family, print services by device type, and software by tool functionality
- Penetration and economic impact analysis of adoption of 3D printing in the existing markets for prosthetic and orthotic devices, including total market valuation of printed medical devices or device components where relevant, and the penetration of 3D printing as a production process compared to incumbent methods of manufacturing
- Production volume forecasts for printed prosthetics, orthotics, and related components by device type through 2027, split by print material where relevant
From the report
- The manufacture of custom orthotic insoles using polymer powder bed fusion and material extrusion 3D printing technologies are expected to disrupt the business model and care structure for custom orthotics worldwide, and may significantly shift the role of the podiatrist in the dispensing of orthotic insoles in the future. This could spark adoption of low cost printing technologies directly in-office by foot care specialists.
- In prosthetics, 3D printing holds promise as a production process to upend the traditional market where prosthetic devices often cost between $10,000 and $50,000 or more, and only have an expected useful product lifecycle of five years or less. Digital manufacturing allows not only for the potential for the creation of much more accessible devices from a cost perspective, but also for a much more sustainable approach to life-long amputee care through a digitally powered process using scanning and imaging technology.
3D printing technology is often heralded as a digital manufacturing technology. And for some reason, this really gets a lot of people excited. What’s the big deal? 3D printing takes a digitally designed part in the form of a converted CAD file, and then makes the part in an automated and computer controlled process. So what? The world has been using computer controlled manufacturing technologies for a long time.
What if I now told you that 3D printing technology is not only a digital manufacturing technology, but it is the digital manufacturing technology. Well, obviously this wouldn’t really be true, for a couple reasons. First off, we just established that digital manufacturing has been in existence and widely utilized for some time. Secondly, a lot of what is 3D printed today doesn’t really qualify under “manufacturing” in the context of fabrication of production parts going into products and systems as a final component.
And yet, I would still stand by that statement -3D printing is indeed the digital manufacturing technology. At least for the future. How? This is where 3D printing software comes in to really expand the idea.
Making a model or a prototype or a final use part using a computer controlled technology isn’t the revolution. The revolution is in applying vastly available digital resources to empower manufacturing. Things like near-infinite cloud computing power. 3D printing is the digital manufacturing technology because physics-based limitations are alleviated, and the ability to actually digitally control the manufacturing process is increased by orders of magnitude, all through the concept of layer-by-layer manufacturing. In fact, don’t think about 3D printing processes like metal powder bed fusion or photopolymerization as building parts, think about them as distributing mass in a volume of physical space.
Software is often referred to as the glue which holds together the hardware and materials in 3D printing. But for the future, not only is it the glue connecting these two other elements, but it will also become the catalyst by which the potential of advanced digital manufacturing can be realized. In our latest report for software for 3D printing, SmarTech explores the current efforts to actualize through 3D printing digital manufacturing software concepts which have existed for nearly a decade or more, but which haven’t yet been able to be fully exploited. Thanks to additive manufacturing, all of that will change.
We aren’t simply talking about designing digitally and then using computers to control a machine to fabricate the design. We’re talking about totally rethinking how parts and products are designed, function, optimized, made, qualified, and certified.
Manufacturing technology orders in September continued their upward trend, ending the third quarter on a strong note. According to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Report, bookings for September 2017 were up 6% from August and posted a year-to-date figure 5% higher than the first nine months of 2016. The monthly total of $403 million fell short of September 2016 by 26%, a typical drop-off in odd-numbered years when IMTS, the largest manufacturing technology show in the Americas, does not occur.
The rough edges of the recovery continued to expose themselves. Aerospace and medical equipment, chief contributors to new capital equipment investment over the past eight months, were down 26% and 40% respectively from August. Order activity from the automotive industry had been weak during the third quarter but rose 11% in September, surprising some analysts who had expected auto orders to remain weak till December.
“While there is recovery in market conditions for manufacturing technology, it’s at a more gradual pace than typically seen due to a sentiment of caution around manufacturing,” said Doug Woods, President of AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. “Manufacturers are concerned about Washington’s impact on economic growth and pace of technological change, as well as the general evolution in technology. It is necessary for companies to invest in current technologies to stay competitive, but they’re doing so at a moderate pace.”
Regionally, the North Central West, Southeast and Northeast regions as reported by USMTO benefited from strong activity in contract machining shops, forging and stamping, automotive, and consumer electronics. Notably, orders from the consumer electronics and computers sector were up 132% nationally. The West region also saw gains in September, driven by contract machining shops and regional activity in aerospace.
The key leading indicators for manufacturing technology are positive and AMT analysis suggests an acceleration in order activity at the close of 2017. AMT staff are available to provide further insight on economic and technology trends for the manufacturing industry.
New Hudson, Michigan – SW North America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Schwäbische Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH, headquartered in Schramberg-Waldmössingen, Germany, dedicated its new 40,000ft2, $12 million manufacturing facility in New Hudson, Michigan. In attendance were managing directors from Germany, local and county officials, and invited suppliers and customers.
SW North America Inc. is a designer and manufacturer of high-precision multi-spindle horizontal machining centers and manufacturing systems for the metalworking industry. The company specializes in providing manufacturing solutions for machining mid- to high-volume, prismatic components using 4- and 5-axis multi-spindle technologies.
“Our New Hudson manufacturing facility allows SW North America, Inc. to expand its foothold in the growing automotive market while increasing its customer base in the industrial, aerospace and defense, alternative energy, transportation, consumer products, and medical sectors,” says James Campbell, president/CSO, SW North America.
Mark Reichenbacher, president/CEO, SW North America, added that the company will employ 50 people at the new facility.
SW is located at 30160 Lyon Industrial Court in New Hudson. The company previously operated a small office in Canton, Michigan. Other manufacturing facilities are located in Germany, China, and Mexico. Company officials stated expansion for added manufacturing activity at the New Hudson facility can be expected to begin as early as next year.
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