High-quality components in industries like automotive and aerospace are being produced with 3D printers, with parts being put into machines that must be tiptop for operation and travel by humans. The medical industry is being explored rapidly as well with the use of 3D printing technology. Many thankful people are being positively affected and impacted in terms of quicker, better diagnoses and in some occasions, lives are saved due to 3D printed medical devices and implants.
But what about our faithful companions? When it comes to tugging at the heartstrings—not to mention hitting us with a big ‘wow’ factor–hearing about a dog now running joyfully with a new leg—or sporting an implant used in a knee replacement surgery or procedure to relieve a cruciate ligament condition is incredibly heartwarming.
As much as we are driven to use technology to help advance the human race, the 3D printing love is certainly shared with animals around the planet.
It takes specialty parts and very specialized companies to create these products and procedures, however. And while there are numerous success stories already in the history books, 3D printing technology for use in veterinary medicine is being constantly refined as well. A perfect example of this is the recent collaboration between two companies in the UK, Guyson International Ltd. and Fusion Implants. We’ve reported on Fusion recently regarding their innovations that are making a significant difference in the lives of animals with knee and joint replacements.
While watching animals have a renewed lease on life as their pain is eased is one thing, there is a technical backstory to the process also, and that’s where companies like Guyson International and Fusion Implants come in. Fusion Implants, always searching for the latest innovations, has recently received the benefit of one of Guyson’s Formula 1400 blast cabinets, together with a ‘Kerry’ branded MKC14 ultrasonic bath. These two products allow for superior surface finishing and ultrasonic cleaning of the 3D printed parts which are used during veterinary implant procedures.
The Formula 1400 is important for adding cosmetic finish to the dynamic tension plates used to alleviate pain and repair cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) damage in dogs and is designed to fit most 3D printed prototypes with dimensions of 815 x 560 x 591 mm.
“We needed the dynamic tension plates to have a uniform and aesthetic appearance as do the rest of the conventionally manufactured stainless steel instrumentation kits, and glass bead blasting was the best process to achieve this,” said Dr Dan Jones, General Manager of Fusion Implants.
Because a sterile atmosphere allowing no contamination is paramount, the blast cabinet features:
- Polyurethane body
- Stainless steel airjets
- Stainless steel cabinet floor
- Stainless steel hose coupling
- Stainless steel media pick-up tube
As with all Formula blast cabinets, it has:
- Sealed gauntlet gloves
- A protected glass window for viewing
- Quick release media changeover facility
Once blasted, the 3D printed medical implants are immersed in the ultrasonic bath to remove residual particles, and then cleaned further in an autoclave before being put into final packaging. For regularity and consistency, all of Guyson’s baths have pre-sets for times and temperatures, with digital controls that allow the chemicals to be heated from 20°C to 80°C in 1°C increments.
Most of us would agree that it’s amazing how far we’ve come just in offering procedures for replacing human parts like knees and joints, restoring mobility and quality of life. That we can do such procedures on our beloved canines is stunning enough, but the refinements that companies like Guyson and Fusion are making together is further impressive—and obviously, just a start. For now, man’s best friend is certainly reaping the rewards not only of progress in veterinary medicine but that of the industrial revolution offered by 3D printing as well.
Do you know anyone who has a dog that has received a 3D printed joint implant or device? Is this something you are interested in for your pet? Tell us about it in the Blasting & Washing Technology for 3D Printed Fusion Implants forum thread over at 3DPB.com.