3D Learning Hub

Medical Device Prototyping

Introduction

From life-saving equipment to non-invasive diagnostics, medical devices have improved patient outcomes and enhanced the efficiency of healthcare services. The evolution of medical devices has revolutionized the way healthcare is delivered today.


Designing and manufacturing these medical devices is complex. It requires both expertise and precision in order to develop life-changing aids and devices. In order to do that, prototyping has an important role to play, this part of the manufacturing process is essential to build any functional device in the medical industry. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of rapid and accurate medical device prototyping and how it can benefit the medical device industry. Moreover, we will expose how additive manufacturing can help you optimize and facilitate this stage of your product development to build your medical devices.

What is Medical Device Prototyping?

Medical device prototyping is the process of creating a functional model or prototype of a medical device. It involves the creation of a physical representation of a device. 

This physical representation of the device that can be used for testing, evaluation, and validation. The prototype is usually made using materials that are similar to those that will be used in the final product. It is an essential stage in the development of medical devices as it allows designers to test and refine the design, evaluate the performance, and identify potential problems.

The importance of Accuracy and Rapidity for prototyping

Accurate prototyping

Accuracy is essential in medical device prototyping as even minor design flaws can have significant consequences. Accurate prototyping allows designers to test the device’s performance in a simulated environment, identify any design flaws, and make necessary adjustments. This process can take time and has be as optimized as possible. Prototyping is made to ensure that the final product meets the required standards of safety, efficacy, and reliability. Accurate prototyping can also help reduce the risk of product recalls which could cause financial losses. 

Rapid prototyping

Like many other different industrie the medical device industry is highly competitive, and time-to-market is a critical factor in the success of a product. Rapid prototyping can significantly reduce the time it takes to develop a medical device from concept to production. It allows designers to quickly create and test multiple design iterations, identify and fix design flaws. It allows to evaluate the global performance of the device. This can save valuable time and resources, allowing companies to bring their products to market faster! Rapid prototyping is a great asset, but in order to benefit from it you will need to find the adapted manufacturing technique. That is where additive manufacturing can become an helpful tool for your product development process!

How can you benefit from 3D printing for medical device prototyping?

The use of 3D printing in the medical sector is constantly growing. Either for prosthetics, orthotics, cusomized tools and so on, 3D printing presents several advantage to improve the life of patients and professionnals from the healthcare sector.

What can 3D printing bring to the table for your medical prototypes?

Additive manufacturing makes it possible to make customized parts and iterations at a lower cost. With 3D printing, you don’t need to create a mold to start the creation of your physical parts, you don’t have any minimum order, all the customization and iteration process is simplified. Using additive manufacturing and adapting your production to demand. With additive manufacturing you avoid minimum order quantities, perfect for limited editions or series production. No more busy warehouse: all you need are 3D files. Use Just in Time Manufacturing and become as reactive as possible to the market demand.​
  • Freedom of design
Additive manufacturing allows to build products with designs impossible to make with traditional manufacturing techniques. Reducing assembly, creating lattices structure, making all-in-one products… Additive manufacturing offers interesting opportunities to build your devices. 3D printing is a popular technique used for prototyping as it allows designers to create complex geometries and intricate designs quickly. Other techniques, such as visualization for additive manufacturing can be used to create virtual models that can be tested and refined before creating a physical prototype!

Adapted materials and technologies for your medical projects

There are several 3D printing materials that can be used to manufacture medical prototypes. They all have their advantages, but your material choice will depend on the specific requirement of your projects. Here are a few examples of technologies and materials that can be used for your medical project.
  • Selective Laser Sintering: Powder bed technologies offer a wide variety of materials such as Nylon PA12 are a perfect option to prototype surgical tools or orthotics for example.
Get an SLS 3D printing quote. Are you looking for an MJF 3D printing service? Check our FDM 3D printing service.
  • Resin options such as Polyjet or DLP/LCD technologies can also be considered for your prototypes. They have the advantage of creating highly detailed objects, but might be more costly for a prototyping process. Stereolithography is offering a Prototyping resin which might be more adapted if you are willing to make resin prototypes for your project.

Find a medical manufacturer for your prototypes

Prototyping for medical devices is an important step in their development. Prototyping quickly and accurately can help shorten the time it takes to get a product to market, help find and correct design faults, and guarantee that the finished product satisfies the necessary requirements for reliability, safety, and efficacy. The efficiency and accuracy of the prototyping process can be further improved through the use of cutting-edge materials and methods like 3D printing. Finding the adapted medical device manufacturer then becomes crucial!

Using an online 3D printing service

3D printing might be the perfect solution to give more space to innovation and adaptability in your business. An online 3D printing service such as Sculpteo will offer the flexibility and expertise you need to develop your project. 

3D printing is making it possible to create perfectly adapted devices like 3D printed casts, or even further: 3D printed prosthetics, orthosis, casts, or implants for any patient. With additive manufacturing, it is now possible to build exactly tailored insoles as well as make hands, limbs, and legs, allowing amputees to lead normal lives.

After your prototyping process, 3D printing for contract manufacturing could be an option for your company’s medical products!

Partner with Sculpteo to create your prototypes

Do you already have your 3D file? By uploading your 3D model to our website, you may quickly order your 3D printed parts. Or perhaps you are aware of 3D printing’s potential and want to use this cutting-edge manufacturing method in your medical production but are unsure of where to begin. Don’t worry; with the aid of our specialized consulting services, you will be able to solve this problem, find all of your opportunities, and improve the prototyping and manufacturing of your medical products. 

Your projects involving additive manufacturing will be supported by our multidisciplinary team, which includes both designers and engineers. You can benefit from the experience of Sculpteo to make the most of 3D printing for your prototyping needs.

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