On-demand manufacturing at the service of the healthcare industry

Time constraints are one of the major challenges faced by the healthcare and medical industries. Players in these fields often need to innovate and create new tools to fight against viruses and diseases so they can rapidly improve medical technologies and instruments. On-demand manufacturing is a possible solution for accelerating the innovation process and supporting development in these industries.

As a major player in custom manufacturing, Xometry is an ideal solution for all types of manufacturing projects, from innovative prototyping to mass production. Customers in the medical industry benefit from being able to customize designs and products, short lead teams, high accuracy parts as well as scalability and repeatability for large production volumes.

Large production capacities compatible with the medical industry

Thanks to its network of 2,000 suppliers all across Europe, Xometry offers a wide range of manufacturing technologies that are relevant to the medical industry and its specific requirements in terms of quality and security. The most commonly used technologies are:

  • CNC machining (turning, milling, drilling): This technology produces very accurate metal parts and can handle complex shapes and contours. CNC machining is perfect for producing surgical equipment and tools.
  • 3D printing (FDM, SLS, MJF, SLA, Carbon DLS, DMLS): This process is mostly used to manufacture products from plastics, resins, and elastomers, but metal 3D printing (DMLS) is also possible. Carbon DLS enables the production of parts made of engineering elastomers with rubber-like strength and resilience. This technology has various applications in the medical industry.
  • Injection molding: Plastic injection molding is a cost-effective way of producing parts with high precision, accuracy, and quality for the medical industry. Injection molded parts are compliant with industry standards and regulations and can be manufactured in high volumes without losing consistency.

Access to various biocompatible materials is another reason why Xometry is the perfect partner for sourcing parts. These materials, often used for joints, bone plates, and material devices, should be designed to interact with biologically active systems.

  • Biocompatible metals (CNC machining, DMLS): Cobalt chromium and titanium (Ti6AL4V) can be used for implants as they have good tensile strength and resistance to corrosion, whereas stainless steel and aluminum are mostly used for equipment and tools.
  • Biocompatible plastics (3D printing, injection molding): These provide better options in terms of complexity and customization. Materials such as ABS, Nylon PA 12, ULTEM 1010, CE 221, Silicone (Sil 30), and True Silicone all have various properties (heat-resistant, corrosion-resistant, flexible) that can meet the requirements of specific parts and designs.

Applications of on-demand manufacturing in the medical industry

The rapid development of new additive manufacturing technologies and the refinement of processes such as CNC machining and injection molding have led to more applications in the medical and healthcare industries. Personal Medical Devices (PMDs) account for a large percentage of customer manufacturing applications in the medical industry. 3D printing in particular allows the high level of customization required for these devices (implants, orthotics, prosthetics, bionics).

The speed and scalability of CNC milling make it perfect for bulk production, general-use equipment, and surgical devices. It is also a good option for producing replacement parts for medical machinery. Thanks to its tight tolerances (± 0.05 mm, ± 0.025 with micromachining), CNC machining is ideal for small parts and body implants.

When it comes to prototyping and research, on-demand manufacturing lets you try out every possible combination and minimize the risk for error.

The application of manufacturing technologies such as CNC machining, 3D printing, injection molding, and biocompatible materials are strictly regulated by international standards such as ISO 13485, ISO 10993 and ISO 9001: 2015. Xometry has these certifications and can also provide certificates for different materials.

Xometry’s past experiences in the medical industry

Over the years, Xometry has gained solid experience in manufacturing parts for the healthcare and medical industries. The company has supported innovative projects like Viralink, an efficient device that destroys viruses in the air. Xometry provided Paul Byrne, a British engineer, with CNC machined parts in a short amount of time. Using Xometry let him source a number of parts for his Viralink devices in just five weeks.

Xometry’s supply chain solutions also helped ClearMask, a medical supplies company. By scaling up production, the company managed to produce millions of masks in just a few months and cope with shortages during the pandemic.

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