If there is a sector driving the 3D printing industry it is the healthcare sector, and 3D Systems have been pushing the envelope in the field for a number of years and today the company have opened a state-of-the-art Healthcare Technology Centre to further advance 3D printing's unique ability to solve complex medical solutions for the benefit of countless humans across the globe.
The new facility in Littleton, CO. will serve as the central hub for the company’s global healthcare activities, and support its full and comprehensive portfolio of precision healthcare and medical 3D printing solutions. The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new 70,000 square foot facility took place on March 10.
In keeping with the company’s collaborative legacy in healthcare, 3D Systems’ Healthcare Technology Center will work closely with medical practitioners and manufacturers in the field of precision healthcare with the goal of delivering optimised workflows and improved patient outcomes. The new facility will play an integral role in the provision and advancement of 3D healthcare solutions, including 3D printed medical devices and implants, Virtual Surgical Planning (VSP), and immersive surgical simulation.
3D Systems’ Healthcare Technology Center will feature manufacturing floors powered by 3D printing to produce known medical solutions and pioneer new ones. These 3D printing manufacturing floors will house a complete range of 3D Systems’ technology, including Direct Metal Printing (DMP), Stereolithography (SLA), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), ColorJet Printing (CJP) and MultiJet Printing (MJP).
As one of 3D Systems’ global centers of excellence in healthcare, the Littleton facility is ISO 13485 certified for healthcare solutions, and operates in accordance with the FDA and MDD regulations for applicable medical devices, ranging from low risk models (Class I) to instruments and implants (Class II) to highest risk devices (Class III).
The facility also features a simulation experience center in which visitors can demo the company’s Simbionix line of training simulators first-hand. 3D Systems’ training simulators provide surgeons and surgical assistants the opportunity to obtain skills and practice full procedures in an extensive range of medical specialties. Supported by the full range of 3D Systems’ 3D printing technologies, the experience center showcases how 3D printed models can be combined with simulators to allow better understanding of human anatomy, to provide a solid platform for device bench testing, and to enable repetitive practice on patient-specific anatomy without putting the patient at risk.
“Our new Healthcare Technology Center answers the growing need of the medical community for innovative and adaptive tools designed to provide better insights, better processes and better outcomes,” said Kevin McAlea, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Healthcare, 3D Systems. “Our extensive and growing offering of precision healthcare and medical 3D printing solutions provide the means and skills for medical and dental professionals to overcome today’s challenges and advance the future of care.”
Among the guests in attendance at the center’s ribbon cutting ceremony was Blessing Makwera, who underwent a successful series of intensive surgeries in 2013 that were made possible through advancements in Virtual Surgical Planning and 3D printing. “Today is an important day in medicine,” Makwera said. “My story illustrates how life changing this technology can be, and I am overjoyed to think of the many lives that will be impacted and improved by the capabilities made possible here.”
Dr. Oren Tepper, Director of Craniofacial Surgery at the Montefiore Medical Center, was also present for the grand opening. Dr. Tepper frequently relies on precision healthcare tools and medical 3D printing solutions to address the specific needs of his patients, and is a pioneer in developing innovative new uses for the technology. “Awareness and access have been the biggest hurdles to adopting 3D technology in healthcare,” Dr. Tepper said. “This facility will be a tremendous asset to the healthcare community in developing and proving precise methodologies for some of medicine’s most trying cases.”
3D Systems’ Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Chuck Hull, also attended the opening, alongside regional and state officials, prominent figures in the academic and medical fields and additive manufacturing experts. “From the first printed part, I knew 3D printing had the potential to impact lives,” Hull said, “but I never imagined the revolutionary ways in which this technology would enhance healthcare and improve the quality of life for so many.”