In Medtech, there can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach, but mass-producing specialized medical technology can be an extremely costly venture. Atlantic Prosthetic Orthotic Services (APOS) is one of the manufacturers of medical prosthetics, and they are turning towards technology to help them sped up their production times and cut down on costs. The new technology the company is adopting is termed additive manufacturing and might be something that other prosthetic manufacturers might consider in the future. At its heart, additive manufacturing is a little like 3D printing a prosthetic, through the application of layers of material until the final product is complete.
Consumer Demand for Personalized Goods Rising
More consumers can personalize the goods they want in today’s retail-centric world. With the approach that APOS is taking, not only are they able to craft customized Medtech for individuals, but even personalize them to such an extent that the user would feel as though it’s genuinely “theirs.” Flexible production of Medtech items is made more accessible by the application of new technology such as robotics, automated systems, and 3D printing techniques, including additive manufacturing. Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) has helped APOS realize their system, and is currently working on a system that converges individual technologies to make a more efficient customized production queue.
Adhering to Existing Regulations
Medtech has strict regulations in place to ensure the quality and safety of the products. IMR noted that the production process for these customized ‘batch-of-one’ production runs also needs to conform to these regulations. Additionally, the cost of producing these singular product runs has dropped significantly. The use of digital blueprints to assemble these items through additive manufacturing makes them easier to design and to share designs between designers. Developing a proper balance between the manufacturing process, the materials being used, and the governmental regulations on Medtech makes for a challenging but rewarding practice for companies. As the cost continues to drop, we may likely see more companies adopt additive manufacturing to create customized medical technology for patients.