LayerWise's expertise in medical applications is well known. The company used additive manufacturing to produce the world’s first patient-specific total lower jaw implant this year.
Metal additive manufacturing industry leader LayerWise has proudly announced that it was selected as the winner of GE's Global 3D Printing Production Quest.
LayerWise's submission for the open innovation challenge was a complex, high-precision part produced using refractory metal. This successful entry serves as proof of the company’s capability to produce sophisticated medical imaging devices with high precision. High-end metal 3D printing capabilities mastered by LayerWise help drive greater product performance, better quality and more significant cost savings for healthcare customers.
Receiving this accolade from the largest industrial group on the planet, LayerWise indicated this signals a future for the company becoming a technology partner with GE.
LayerWise was one of three winners selected by GE, which based its judging of each submission on the analysis of its dimensional capabilities, materials and other qualitative aspects. Participants representing research teams from academia, start-ups and established businesses from across the globe competed in the Quest in order to explore new uses for 3D printing technologies in the healthcare sector.
The worldwide medical imaging market is anticipated to reach €25 billion ($35 billion, £20 billion) by 2019 and GE claims that additive manufacturing's ability to enable new component designs will greatly simplify and slash the cost of medical devices, while improving quality and diagnostic capability.
Printing refractory metals
Refractory metals have high density allowing them to very effectively block X-rays without the environmental and health hazards associated with lead. 3D printing of refractory metals is particularly challenging because such metals also have very high melting temperatures, up to 3,400 degrees-C. They are used in X-ray systems to control the path of X-rays from the source through the patient’s body and some components such as X-ray source tubes that take advantage of the high melting temperature.
Proven technology leadership
Peter Mercelis, Managing Director of LayerWise, commented: "Through many years of experience and by acquiring full control over the layered manufacturing technology, LayerWise really masters the powder-to-solid transformation. Winning the quest reconfirms that LayerWise is a world leader in 3D printing high-tech metal materials. This is one of the reasons LayerWise collaborates with renowned medical, industrial and aerospace manufacturers in Europe, USA and beyond.
"In-depth research on new materials and additive manufacturing technology is essential in delivering and validating high-end series production. Serving both as a technology developer and as a technology user, we are able to directly test new developments on real applications. This makes our technology progress both very applicable as effective."
Accelerating the pace of innovation
Steve Liguori, Executive Director of Global Innovation at GE, said: "Harnessing the power of the crowd is essential to disrupting current processes and accelerating the pace of innovation. GE’s Quest programme taps into the world’s greatest minds to create products that bring new values to our customers and speed the time from mind to market."