Medical & Dental

Materialise greenlights Ultimaker S5 for medical 3D printing

Dutch 3D printer manufacturer, Ultimaker, has announced that the Ultimaker S5 FDM/FFF printer has received Materialise certification.

Materialise tested the compatibility of the Ultimaker S5 for FDA approved medical applications using the Materialise Mimics inPrint software. 

John Kawola, President of Ultimaker, North America, said, “The Materialise certification of the 3D printing workflow when used with Mimics inPrint reduces the safety and quality-control burden on doctors and hospitals with its clearance by the FDA.”

The new Ultimaker S5 3D printer. Photo via Ultimaker.
The new Ultimaker S5 3D printer. Photo via Ultimaker.

Software as a medical device

In 2013, International Medical Device Regulators Forum (IMDRF), an organization for medical device regulation, published the FDA-agreed document Software as a Medical Device (SaMD): Key Definitions. The document defines SaMD as: “software intended to be used for one or more medical purposes that perform these purposes without being part of a hardware medical device.”

In the above definition software used for diagnosis, prevention, monitoring of disease and software used for investigation of anatomy for medical purposes is considered for certification.

Furthermore, the 21st Century Cures Act, introduced in 2016, was appended to include documentation clarifying the definition of a medical device. After this publication, Materialise Mimics Innovation Suite became the first medical software to receive Class II certification from the FDA

As such, the company has been validating various 3D printers under the FDA umbrella of its software, including, most recently three Stratasys 3D printers.

CT images viewed in Materialise's Mimics software. Image via Materialise.
CT images viewed in Materialise’s Mimics software. Image via Materialise.

Ultimaker S5 fitness for medical use

The FDA guidelines make it clear that 3D models for diagnostic and other medical purposes must be created using FDA-approved software, such as the Materialise Mimics inPrint. Moreover, making such models using Mimics inPrint also require that they are made with a compatible printer and materials combination approved by Materialise.   

For this purpose, Materialise tested the compatibility of PLA 3D printed on the Ultimaker S5 for diagnostics, then conducted a thorough analysis of the part quality.

Bryan Crutchfield, Materialise’ Vice President and General Manager, North America, explained that by passing these internal tests “Ultimaker will improve access to 3D printed anatomical models to aid in surgical planning and multidisciplinary team communication.”

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Featured image shows the Ultimaker S5. Image via Ultimaker