Stratasys is continuing with its application-specific technology strategy, a plan that Executive Editor Joris Peels has been enthusiastic about, while also warning about the potential drawbacks for some equipment. The latest system released by the 3D printing stalwart is the J5 MediJet, designed specifical for anatomical models, surgical guides, and medical tooling with sterilizable and biocompatible materials.
Like the other application/vertical-specific systems, the MediJet is meant to be an easy-to-use package, this time targeted toward the medical field. This means that, not only is it designed to be economical and compact for small lab spaces, but that guides and models are certified to be sterilizable and biocompatible. Stratasys claims that it 3D prints up to 30 percent faster than other printers, but does not specify to which it is comparing this rate. Other features include the fact that it includes automatic build tray arrangement, corrections and support for the 3MF file format.
The printer is also certified with 510-cleared DICOM segmentation software necessary for designing said anatomical models and surgical guides. Materials with which it can print include biocompatible photopolymers certified for limited contact with tissue and bone and permanent contact with intact skin (ISO 10993), as well as for breathing gas pathways (ISO 18562). Printed models can then be sterilized using Steam, Gamma and EtO methods, specific to the material used. The manufacture sites for the printer and materials have received ISO 13485 certification for producing medical devices.
“For small to midsized hospitals, we’re enabling access to models and guides with a medical-specific 3D printer that is office-friendly and affordable, while ensuring sterilization is easy so you can bring models right into the operating room with you,” said Stratasys’ Healthcare Vice President Osnat Philipp. “We also believe the J5 MediJet printer can help medical device companies bring new innovations to market faster by providing models for benchmark testing of medical devices and for product demonstrations with models showing the actual pathologies the devices are meant to treat.”
The MediJet fits into the larger J5 Series of printers, which also includes the J5 DentaJet and the J55. The target market of the DentaJet is obvious. The J55 is meant as a lower-cost, office friendly PolyJet system that can be used for full-color design work, among other things. Then, Stratasys has also released a J850 machine, without color, that reduces the cost and capability of the technology for those who don’t need color functionality. Then there’s the J750 Digital Anatomy printer, which is dedicated specifically to 3D printing anatomical models.
This demonstrates Stratasys’s strategy of modifying its technology to address every available market, possibly extending the manufacturer’s footprint across a wider number of verticals. As someone without marketing and sales experience, I may not be the best to comment, but I would wonder if they are fragmenting their products too much. Then again, if you compare the J750 and J5 Series, you see that the J5 Series is simply meant to be a smaller, more economical counterpart to the J750 with fewer material options and maximum materials jetted at once. Therefore, if you’re simply working on surgical guides, fewer materials make sense. For complex medical models, a broader range of materials may be needed.
The medical space may be among the fastest growing, as the near future is set for a number of hospitals adopting 3D printing for the production of patient-specific surgical guides and anatomical models. The use of additive manufacturing for those uses has proven itself and we’re on the precipice of rapidly increased adoption for those applications.
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