All over the world people are living and working longer than ever before, resulting in a lifestyle that tends to be more active. However often an extended active lifestyle puts strain on the human body in expected ways, resulting in the need for joint replacement and enhancements. This need is driving the rapid advancement of new surgical techniques and new products to support these new stresses on the body. This is causing an explosion in the orthopedic implant market, and 3D printing is one of the advanced techniques driving its growth.
While 3D printed implants and medical devices are fairly new they are quickly catching on as an inexpensive, viable and customizable replacement for their traditionally manufactured counterparts. At this point the United States and most of Europe have already approved the development and use of most 3D printed implants; however, there are still huge population centers who have not caught up. But a major hurdle that was blocking their use in Asia was just cleared when the China State Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) formally approved the manufacture and use of 3D printed medical implants, specifically those manufactured with metal 3D printing technologies.
Less than a month after the CFDA approved the use of additively manufactured orthopedic implants, metal 3D printer manufacturer Arcam has announced a sale of five Arcam Q10 metal 3D printers using their electron beam melting (EBM) technology. The sale was to longtime Chinese customer Beijing AK Medical, which will be implementing EBM technology for the creation of multiple varieties of medical implants. So far this was China’s first official CFDA approval for an orthopedic implant made using an additive manufacturing technology.
“We are happy to present this order from Beijing AK Medical, a customer since long and a leading Chinese Implant manufacturer, driving the adaptation to Additive Manufacturing in China. This order also shows that the implant industry in China is now moving to volume production of medical implants with our EBM technology,” said CEO of Arcam Magnus René.
Beijing AK Medical specializes in the research, development, manufacture and sale of artificial joint prosthesis and their associated surgical instruments and applications. These newly acquired metal 3D printing production systems will be applied to volume production of newly developed orthopedic implants. These implants can include joint and knee replacements, bone and skull implants and customized surgical tools.
“We are excited to move into volume production with the EBM technology. Having worked with Arcam since 2010 we are now ramping up our activities, following the recent approval by the CFDA,” said CEO of Beijing AK Medical Mr Li Zhi Jiang.
The Arcam Q10 is the newest generation of Arcam’s EBM metal 3D printers that was specifically designed for the industrial production of orthopaedic and medical implants. It has been developed to meet the growing implant industry’s need for high productivity, high resolution, ease-of-use and quality part manufacturing. The Q10 is the replacement for the outdated Arcam A1 system and integrates several new advanced production features. These new enhancements include a new EB gun which offers a higher level of productivity and increased part resolution. the Q10 also includes Arcam’s new LayerQam technology, a new camera-based monitoring system for inline verification of part quality.
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