More facts about 3D printing of medical implants in titanium

3D printing of medical implants in titanium

  • The World Health Organization estimates that 30 million people need prosthetic and orthotic devices.
  • Cranioplasty is the surgical repair of the skull, to fix damage resulting from a previous operation, medical condition or injury. Plates are often made from titanium, synthetic bone or a solid biomaterial.
  • Medical implants such as skull plates have been around for many years, but breakthroughs in manufacturing technology are improving opportunities for individualization, while delivering faster results.
  • Spine implants, skull plates, hip joints, prosthetics and other skeletal parts can be 3D printed and tailored to fit individual patients.
  • 3D printing of implants and medical devices enables rapid manufacturing directly from an individual’s anatomical data — enhancing the healing process and improving the prognosis for the patient.
  • These 3D models can be generated using standard medical imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computer tomography (CT). This creates a product that is completely unique to the patient.

Titanium powder and additive manufacturing

  • Titanium is noted for being strong yet light, while offering high levels of corrosion resistance and biocompatibility.
  • The cost and complexity of machining from titanium billets has historically restricted its use to high-value, low volume industries.
  • With additive manufacturing, it is much easier to form complex shapes using titanium powder, which is 3D printed layer by layer.
  • Sandvik’s metal powder plant in Sandviken, Sweden, is one of the world’s most cutting edge titanium powder plants.
  • Sandvik's powder plant in Sweden has received the ISO 13485:2016 quality certification for the production of titanium powder for use in medical applications.
  • The plant produces high-quality titanium powders for additive manufacturing.
  • Sandvik has a world-leading position in metal powder with the widest range of AM-alloys on the market, marketed under the Osprey® brand.
  • The company has also made sizeable investments into a wide range of AM printing technologies since 2013 — and has well-established and leading competence across the entire AM-value chain.
  • In 2019, Sandvik acquired a significant stake in BEAMIT, a leading European-based AM service provider, and in 2020 the BEAMIT Group acquired 100 per cent of ZARE, bringing together two leading AM service bureaus in Europe to create one of the largest independent AM service providers, serving the most demanding industries.