The word “creep” generally does not have positive connotations. Creeping is not a good thing, no matter who’s doing it. Being called a creep is not something to aspire to. But creep is also a scientific phenomenon. How about that? To illustrate the phenomenon of creep, imagine taking Silly Putty out of the egg or peanut it came in. (I had Silly Putty that came in peanuts; I think it may have been off-brand.) Leave it in its egg or peanut shape or roll it into a ball, then set it on a flat surface. Eventually, it’s going to transform into more of a pancake or puddle. That’s because gravity smashes it down, and that’s called creep. Cool.
What’s not so cool is that creep also happens to the human body. According to Dr. Gavi Feuer, creep occurs naturally in the bones as people age, though not nearly as noticeably as it does in putty (thank goodness). Dr. Feuer, however, would like to find a way to counterbalance the effects that creep does have on the bones, and he believes additive manufacturing could play a role. Right now he works with A.M. Surgical, a Long Island-based orthopedic company that specializes in orthopedic implants and surgical tools for the hand and forearm. One of its major objectives is to manufacture parts for experimental applications.
When he first started at the company, said Dr. Feuer,
“I had 50-100 traditional manufacturing suppliers – because each of them provided different parts. Various products include tubes, plastics and laser operations which are all sourced from different suppliers.”
It was extremely difficult to keep track of the additive manufacturing suppliers for each individual project, so Dr. Feuer decided to find a platform that could consolidate suppliers. He turned to LINK3D, whose On Demand service launched last year and connects users with service bureaus that meet their needs.
“The LINK3D platform has increased features and abilities tremendously since its launch in 2017 to support supplier relationship management,” said Dr. Feuer.
Because he works in the medical field, it was critical that Dr. Feuer was able to source parts that met industry standards.
“Certifications are essential because they guarantee quality in the Additive Manufacturing process, material, and strength,” he said.
He also needed to make sure that the additive processes being used were fully safe.
“For example, additive processes that involve toxic oils in the clean-up process will be banned from the orthopedic industry as the residual oil would be hazardous for osseointegration,” he added. “LINK3D provides us access and insight into which suppliers use which products and materials that benefit our industry.”
According to a 2016 Ernst & Young study, companies that have adopted additive manufacturing save an average of 63% on prototyping time. For the medical and pharmaceutical industry, it’s 54%. As he continues to test his theory of biomedical creep, Dr. Feuer is glad to be working with LINK3D and the 3D printing service bureaus that he knows he can rely on to be safe and to meet his specific needs.
“It makes a lot of sense to consolidate Additive Manufacturing service bureaus, so that engineers like me can save tremendous amounts of time and effort in maintaining supplier relationships,” he said. “I hope there will be other SaaS tools like LINK3D where consolidated platforms are made specifically for moulding, casting, forming, and other traditional manufacturing techniques.”
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