Medical device manufacturers face a dilemma when attempting to simulate model organs for testing their medical devices: Do they simulate their organs using injection molding or stereolithography? The problem is that injection molding is not always accurate enough for medical purposes and stereolithography is limited to just one material per model.
With Objet’s newest compact multi-material 3D printer however, medical device designers can now accurately and very quickly reproduce internal body organs or CT reconstructions using different types of materials in the same model – things that are almost impossible to achieve efficiently any other way.
Why different materials? So medical device engineers can attach the various monitoring and stabilizing equipment to the organ models themselves. The heart prototype that I’m holding in these photos below for example combines 2 very different materials – Objet’s TangoPlus rubber-like transparent material for the actual flexible heart, and Objet VeroClear – a new rigid clear transparent material for the top and bottom supporting plates. This flexible/hard combination is grown seamlessly together in the new Objet260 Connex – without the need to glue the separate pieces together.
With a flexible yet strong model at their fingertips, medical engineers can accurately simulate both the flexible movement of the heart, and attach their equipment to it effectively without tearing or interfering with its mechanical action during testing.
NordicNeuroLab (NNL) is a Scandinavian medical design and production company that’s also using 3D printing in their product development workflow. Specializing in functional MRI imaging, they’re using Objet’s 3D printers in their visualization and testing process. And the result? More effective trial cycles and improved time to market for their products. Read NNL’s story here.