3D Printing

CRP Technology’s innovative 3D printed orthoses to be displayed at the SuperPower Design exhibition

Italy-based 3D printing company CRP Technology will be exhibiting its orthoses crafted from Glass Fiber fiber-reinforced thermoplastic Windform GT material at the SuperPower Design exhibition.

The exhibition will be held from March 24th to August 25th, 2024, at the Centre for Innovation and Design (CID) in Grand-Hornu, Belgium. Featured in the exhibits are orthoses tailored for drop foot and hand impairments, developed in collaboration with medical experts and generative design studio MHOX.

Generative and bespoke orthoses. Photo via CRP Technology.
Generative and bespoke orthoses. Photo via CRP Technology.

3D printed orthoses

Orthoses are medical devices designed to support, align, correct, or improve the function of parts of the body. They are often used to alleviate pain, provide stability, or assist with movement. Last month, metal AM company AddUp collaborated with Anatomic Implants for an FDA 510(K) application on a novel 3D printed toe joint replacement

Utilizing titanium printing, Anatomic develops a metatarsophalangeal joint replacement mimicking human anatomy. AddUp’s FormUp 350 powder bed fusion (PBF) 3D printing system supports regulatory approval, ensuring complex lattice structures for medical devices. The porous structure of the implant encourages osseointegration, promising better patient outcomes, says the company. 

In January 2023, prosthetic specialist Open Bionics provided 3D printed bionic arms to a German facility treating injured Ukrainian soldiers with landmine injuries. Controlled by forearm sensors, the Hero Arm offers movable thumb and fingers for enhanced grasping. Recipient Vitalii Ivashchuk praises its functionality, expressing gratitude for the device’s daily use, citing a “very cool feeling” with its fitting.

Elsewhere, French 3D printing service provider Sculpteo partnered with Swiss orthopedic specialist Daniel Robert Orthopedie to create an eco-friendly orthosis. Utilizing Sculpteo’s bio-based PA11 material, the wearable was both sustainable and customizable for patients.

Innovations with CRP Technology

The development process for these custom orthoses is characterized by three distinct phases. Initially, MHOX, in alliance with CRP Technology and medical experts, undertook the task of scanning the patient’s body to generate a precise 3D model of the orthosis. This was followed by the use of proprietary software developed by MHOX to enable automated customization of the orthoses, tailored to the individual’s specific needs and anatomy.

In the crucial third stage, CRP Technology utilized Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) alongside Windform GT material to fabricate the orthoses through 3D printing. Windform GT, a polyamide-based composite reinforced with glass fiber, offers outstanding attributes suited for applications necessitating flexibility, durability, and impact resistance. Its distinct properties render it highly appropriate for generative orthoses, prioritizing reliability and longevity.

3D printed orthoses made in collaboration with Mhox. Image via CRP Technology.
3D printed orthoses made in collaboration with Mhox. Image via CRP Technology.

Aside from medical use, CRP Technology’s materials were leveraged by other sectors. For example, CRP Technology collaborated with UAE-based Orbital Space for the Lunaris Moon Mission, employing 3D printing, specifically PBF. Using Windform’s high-performance composite materials, this partnership aimed to produce functional components for the lunar payload. Orbital Space believes CRP’s expertise will ensure success in achieving its mission to make space accessible, fostering innovation in aerospace exploration.

The entertainment industry saw CRP Technology work with Michael Mann’s film production team for the movie “Ferrari,” to craft 3D printed components like driver helmet parts and pit elements using Windform materials and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). Commissioned during filming in Modena, these props enhanced the visual narrative of Enzo Ferrari’s world.

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Featured image shows 3D printed orthoses made in collaboration with Mhox. Image via CRP Technology.