According to Rob Richards, business development manager for Orchid Design (Shelton, CT), which is part of Holt, MI–based orthopedic contract manufacturer Orchid, 3-D printing could soon catch on for manufacturing medical devices. Richards points out that, despite the arguments that one cannot achieve the economies of scale possible through more traditional manufacturing methods, several of devices are not manufactured in the same quantity as in traditional sectors. Besides, some of them exhibit a level of complexity that would be much more expensive to manufacture through traditional techniques.
Several other advantages of 3D printing were defended by Richard such as its capacity of being customized, precision and biocompatibility: “The internal geometries and structures are also enabling more biocompatible, porous materials that could allow orthopedic and other implanted devices to have enhanced properties such as promoting bone growth”.
Finally, Richards states that 3D printing is already getting more accurate, faster and cost is getting lower. “It’s only going to get faster and cheaper.”