How 3D printing could make for inexpensive medical devices

A layering process builds objects from the base up until the job is complete. From clothing to mechanics, nearly anything can be created using a 3D printer. 3D printing has made the production of numerous objects far more accessible than they may have been in the past. Many items that you may have never guessed are being printed with this technology, such as medical implants, jewelry, shoes designed for individual feet, lampshades, racing-car parts and cell phones. Even the biotech industry is involved now, and it has a promising future building organs and tissues.

With a quick, automated way to build products from the ground up, the production process costs far less, resulting in a much more affordable end product. While 3D printing has been around for quite some time, it was formerly used mainly in industrial settings. Like all technology though, as hardware gets smaller, more affordable and easier to use, the tech spreads to other industries.

The medical device industry has quickly jumped aboard, looking to maximize the benefits of 3D printers. There is still a long road ahead for the industry, but the beginning of the adventure looks very promising. Using this type of technology, customizing a medical device or implant has become much more accessible for manufacturers. Certainly mass production has its benefits, but the real win is in being able to fit a product to an individual flawlessly. No more adjusting an uncomfortable hearing aid, for example. The patient will have a perfect fit that slides right in and stays put.

Because printing enable companies to produce this type of customization on a more scalable level, it makes the end result more economically viable. If a company needs a specialized part, it would be cheaper and quicker to have the part printed locally or in-house instead of ordering one from a supplier.

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