One large name in the 3D printing industry, Stratasys, and another in the design and product development world, Worrell, have created a project to promote the use of 3D printing for medical device development through the use of 3D printed injection molding (dubbed 3DP IM by Worrell). The effort shows a drastic drop in time and money needed to create medical prototypes with final production materials. The stats are impressive: 90% decrease in time and 70% decrease in cost. Now the onus is on the collaboration to spread the word so that the practice can proliferate throughout the medical community.
When looking for a partner to help provide the right production and design quality, Stratasys believed in Worrell’s ability to integrate innovative practices. “We have recognized a significant under-utilization of the 3D printed injection molding process in medical device development and we’re working with Worrell to help fill this gap,” says Nadav Sella, Senior Manager of Manufacturing Tools at Stratasys. “Worrell is a leading design firm with the expertise and infrastructure necessary to integrate injection molding and 3D printing within the product development cycle. In an industry where products have the potential to save lives, we want to use this collaboration to demonstrate how medical device manufacturers can bring their products to market significantly faster than ever before.”
Two roadblocks typically hinder medical device manufacturing: the FDA regulatory process and tooling costs. Worrell and Stratasys welcome the challenge, confident their process significantly reduces tooling costs by bucking traditional prohibitive manufacturing economic and time costs. To reduce potential iteration risks and tooling costs, Worrell uses Stratasys PolyJet-based 3D printers to create injection molding tools and then inject the same materials that will be used in a finished medical device, creating higher-fidelity prototypes.
“We were recently approached by medical device start-up, MedTG, to design and engineer a dual-flow needleless blood collection system that reduced the need for multiple injections, thereby increasing patient comfort and hospital efficiency. Utilizing 3D printed injection molds to prototype the device, we were able to reduce the costs associated with traditional tooling by approximately 70%, as well as cutting times by 95%,” explains Kai Worrell, CEO at Worrell.
Worrell concludes, “Using 3D printed injection molds, we are able to create a prototype for a fraction of the cost and in a matter of days compared to the eight-week lead time associated with traditional tooling processes. This revolutionary manufacturing process enabled by Stratasys PolyJet technology is now an integral part of our product development cycle, allowing us to provide better prototypes for care providers, while saving our clients considerable time and money.”