Investigating the Application of 3D Printing Techniques in the Medical Industry

Morar, Bhaven (2017) Investigating the Application of 3D Printing Techniques in the Medical Industry. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]

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3D Printing or Additive Manufacturing (AM) is seen as a group of technologies that have the ability to fabricate components through successive layers. This dissertation provides an understanding of how this productive technology is implemented in the medical industry. It uses a mixed methods research approach, extracting both qualitative and quantitative data from three organisations in the medical industry. The medical applications under investigation comprise of prosthetic hands, hip implants and hearing aids.

The design as well as the print of the medical applications were varied. Whilst hip implants prove to have significantly long design periods, prosthetic hands are able to minimise this through publicising hand designs on various open sources. All organisations depicted problems related to Computer Aided Design (CAD) software’s which has to some extent, limited the speed of 3D printing. Another common feature of all applications was the need for human expertise in the design phases. The analysis also implies that both hip implants and prosthetic hands cannot achieve the same economies of scale as 3D printed hearing aids as 3D printers are restricted to certain build volumes. All these applications are compared with traditional manufacturing methods and whilst 3D printing can replace prosthetic hands and hearing aid production, it is still competing to try replace conventional manufacturing for hip implants.

3D printing as a whole shows excellent benefits for manufacturing, as fabrication methods can provide more complex geometries in which all three medical applications have made use of. However, they are unidentified gaps such as the risks associated with 3D printing these medical applications, which calls for further research.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: Morar, Bhaven
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2018 09:36
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2018 15:05

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