Medical Manufacturing & Outsourcing - Version A. April 2021 - 14

3D Printing
in a machine. It's a complete and
fundamental shift in how you do
business and operate. Your organization
will have a unique journey and goals,
but the steps below, outlining the
absolute necessities for embarking
on a successful implementation,
are similar for everyone.
Shifting Your Approach. Industrial
3D printing is a change strategy.
Similar to any digital transformation,
it involves a rethinking of your design
process, manufacturing philosophy,
and supply chains, as well as an
organization-wide commitment.
The most crucial first step is to
look inward at your challenges or
pain points and develop strategies
to help you reach your desired end
goals. At this stage, you'll start
to identify AM knowledge gaps,
understand your opportunities and
risk/benefit ratios, and begin to
take on an additive-first mindset.
Keep in mind that your needs will be
determined by preexisting structures
and products within the company.
Creating a Business Case. Justifying
the financial side of AM is complicated.
The machines can be pricey and
when the cost-per-part of 3D printed
products is compared to those
manufactured via a traditional method,
the AM prices tend
to look much
higher on the
surface.
But

The Mecuris Cervical Orthosis is
built using PA 2200, a polyamide
with color added. (Credit: EOS)

14 APRIL 2021

this perspective doesn't consider
lower minimum quantity orders,
simplified supply chains, patient- or
user-customized application, or
reductions in waste, among other
efficiencies enabled by 3D printing.
When you first approach AM as a
viable solution, it may be tempting
to start with a net-new product
offering. But, without a previous
part to compare it to, it becomes
almost impossible to measure your
success. A better approach is to go
back to one of the problems you
identified and ask yourself, can I solve
it in a new way with 3D printing?
One example may be in the long
tail of the product portfolio. Are there
end-of-life products or spares with low
order quantities? Switching to parts
designed with additive in mind allows
you to avoid large stockpiles of lowneed parts, minimizing costs without
losing supply chain robustness.
Another area you could focus on is
the other end of the spectrum, at the
beginning of a part's life. Are there
components you can redesign for a
better fit or function or to decrease
costs? You might find that going for--
ward with a design for AM not only
helps with prototyping and initial pilots
but throughout the product life cycle.
Regardless of the business problem
you're trying to solve, you want to
start with the most complicated
process, not the simplest, and get
the process right before moving on.
Conduct due diligence, and don't
cut corners. This will make every
subsequent product transition
more straight-forward because
you'll already have the right
steps in place for success.
Building Cross-Functional
Teams. A product development
engineer working on a design
and then throwing it over to the
manufacturing team to figure out
how to make it a reality doesn't
work with 3D printing. No one
can create AM applications in a
silo. All sides need to have input
during all stages of the design
and manufacturing process.

This organizational arrangement is
common in the software development
world, where it's referred to as a team
of teams. In this approach, teams
include people from various areas
of your business who have in-depth
knowledge of AM and can work
together fluidly. They can still operate
in their normal hierarchies but must
have the flexibility built in to work
cross-functionally regardless of titles or
roles. This setup enables an agile and
open work environment that plays off
their strengths and expertise, allowing
you to pull in people as needed.
Boosting Education and Knowledge.
Even if your team has the skills needed
to get your first 3D-printed product off
the ground, there's value in continuing
to learn about the technology. Further
training and education open up
opportunities and those opportunities
become competitive advantages.
Most companies EOS has worked
with have continued to grow
and evolve and build upon their
groundwork. And be-cause they
made an initial commitment to AM
years ago and focused on building
internal knowledge throughout
their organization, they're already
several evolutions deep into
their 3D printing i-ntegration.

Rethinking Medical Device
Manufacturing

In preparing your organization for
3D printing, you're also preparing for
the holistic benefits of the future of
manufacturing. Think of AM as part of
a bigger workflow - a workflow that
the entire manufacturing universe is
shifting to-ward, especially after the
current health crisis. Is it a magic pill?
No, but manufacturers should take
the noise and chaos happening in the
industry now as an opportunity to do
things differently so they are better
prepared and positioned for improved
manufacturing systems in the future.
This article was written by Fabian
Alefeld, Additive Minds
Manager for EOS, Pfluger-ville, TX.
For more information, visit
http:// info.hotims.com/79411-340.

MEDICAL MANUFACTURING AND OUTSOURCING SPECIAL REPORT


http://info.hotims.com/79411-340

Medical Manufacturing & Outsourcing - Version A. April 2021

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