Today there is a substantial amount of legal requirements one must go through before they are able to manufacture the complex specifications of a medical implant. This is a good thing and ensures that what we are putting into the bodies of ourselves and our loved ones are held to the highest medical standards and quality controls across any market today or ever. However, what this has done in our demanding for excellence remains the reality that in order to make things at this high of a quality is not cheap, and the workforce capable of executing such precision and excellence is extremely small. Thus we see the problem we have today where a large number of people who desperately need a medical implant will never receive one given the extreme costs that gimme with such a shortage within the market.
When a new medical implant is proposed it normally arises to meet a practical need or difference in the world today. It is a long process that usually takes about 12-19 months from the first sketches to the time when manufacturing is even possible. Not to mention once you do think you have a product ready for manufacturing there is always the inevitable problems and unforeseen consequences that emerge when trying to scale production.
“After receiving a request for a new product from an orthopedist we first design and develop a prototype; The CNC controller assumes an important function for the transform of implants cast corp in Buxtehude, Germany the CNC controller assumes an important function for the transfer of the CAD/CAM data to the actual production. It supports the idea and the virtual model in a work-piece that the orthopedist then can hold in his hand for the first time.”
What the application of CNC technologies and the advent of 3D printing is going to do is reduce the cost of this process to a small fraction of what we see today. The problem is that many times these methods have been rejected, or there is a small percentage of builders using them so their affects are not being fully experienced yet. Not to worry however, but there is already huge strides in this regard. The reason being is that with speed you are able to reach demographics in a way that have never benefited in this way like never before. Primarily growing children. This is because with the amount of time they would normally have to wait to get a custom prosthetic to the children they would already grow before it was ready. Thus they do not have the development of it being a second nature function of their body, and foreignness persists in their relationship to the devices.
Today teams at Berkeley are already seeing very promising advantages to this technology and are turning what was formally thousands upon thousands of dollars in the prototyping processdown to a few hundred bucks. This is going to change access to medicine like never before, and will open doors that were once indeterminately closed until this time.