Laser 3D Scanning Put to Use to Ensure Quality of 3D Printed Medical Implants

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We’ve seen Nikon Metrology‘s industrial measuring systems used before to verify the structure of 3D printed metal parts, and even to help restore a historic cake replica, and a recent case study highlights its use in the quality-critical medical field. Baltic Orthoservice, a medical company in Lithuania, invested in 3D printing technology back in 2012, in order to manufacture patient-specific implants, including ones for the hip joint, cranial, and maxillofacial reconstruction. The company uses Nikon’s LC15Dx laser scanner on an ALTERA CMM to guarantee the quality of each 3D printed product.

There are a lot of considerations to take into account when it comes to 3D printed medical implants, from which type of 3D printing technique is ideal to the wide variety of materials used to manufacture implants. When making 3D printed patient-specific implants, it’s obviously extremely important to ensure the proper geometry and high quality of the implant, in order to improve the quality of treatment and life for patients. The geometry of the implant has to completely match the CAD model, so that everything lines up properly. Baltic Orthoservice knows that only the best quality assurance equipment will work to make sure that their implants are top-notch.

LC15Dx

The company decided to invest in superior equipment to create a new Quality Control Laboratory, and was in need of a metrology solution to ensure the quality of its implants. According to Paulius Lukševičius, an Engineer of Mechanics at Baltic Orthoservice, the solution needed to be able to cover a large working area, have high accuracy, and the capability to scan parts made from different materials.

Baltic Orthoservice began investigating various metrology options, including those available from Nikon. The company’s products make easy work of scanning various materials, and its LC15Dx laser scanner has no moving parts, which means that it’s not likely to have complications that require expensive, time-consuming maintenance. It can efficiently measure a wide variety of parts, materials, and geometry, including for fragile parts and small details like holes and studs, uses Colour Mapping to offer a complete 3D visualization of dimensional quality, and together with the ALTERA CMM, offers fast, accurate surface and screw hole inspection.

ALTERA CMM

Thanks to unique ESP technology, the LC15Dx, which collects highly accurate data at speeds of 70,000 points per second, can scan reflective and multi-material surfaces, and after each post-processing stage, it can quickly show how the physical part matches the virtual model.

According to Milda Jokymaityte, a Clinical Engineer at Baltic Orthoservice, “The LC15Dx on the ALTERA CMM is great for checking geometrical accuracy of implant screw holes at each transitional process.”

Using this non-destructive, highly accurate metrology solution, together with a Nikon XT H 225 micro-CT system, in its new Quality Control Laboratory helps Baltic Orthoservice gain a deeper understanding of its products, which allows it to “confidently produce bespoke implants and improve the quality of treatment for patients,” as Nikon explains.

“The Nikon solution offers better knowledge of what we are manufacturing. It gives better precision and understanding of the 3D-printing errors and deviations,” said Lukševičius. “This means we achieve the best product quality and avoid the risk of implant failure during the operation. Implants with Nikon quality assurance are more reliable and it is easier to prove their value.”

You can check out the full Nikon Metrology and Baltic Orthoservice case study here.

Let us know what you think in the Nikon Metrology Scanner forum thread at 3DPB.com.

[Images: Nikon Metrology]

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