3D Printed Medical Back Brace
Montreal-based medical services innovator uses 3D printing technology to develop custom form-fitted and breathable back braces to improve patient comfort and outcomes.
A medical services innovator based in Montreal, Quebec approached Tempus 3D with a back brace design to manufacture for them. They were looking for a company with the capacity to build the extra-large piece with material that had the strength, flexibility and resilience to be worn for long periods of time.
The team at Tempus collaborated with HP and Hawkridge to provide a solution that suited their manufacturing requirements, while keeping cost and production time to a minimum.
Mass low-cost customization
Complex geometries that result in reduced part cost
Photo courtesy of Airforce Velocity Stacks
The biggest challenge with this project was the large size of the brace. When large, flat parts are 3D printed there is a risk of the piece warping because of the uneven cooling that can occur as the part is being built. Also, there are not many commercial 3D printers which can manufacture such large pieces. The secondary challenge was to ensure the material had the strength, durability and flexibility to provide comfortable support and was suitable to be used as a medical device.
The team at Tempus 3D was able to leverage HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology, which provides the class-leading build volume and part quality required to successfully manufacture this design. With this printer all of the parts for the brace could all be fit into one print run, which saves manufacturing time and cost.
The greatest risk in the production of the brace was the potential for the pieces to warp, because the difference in temperatures across large, flat pieces can bend them as they cool. Tempus 3D drew on support from experts at HP and Hawkridge Systems, who worked with the team at Tempus to ensure the part orientation and print settings were optimized for the best result. The template for this build can now be used to print the same or similar pieces for the supplier on-demand with precise repeatability between prints.
The other consideration in building the brace was to select a material that was suitable for a medical device used on or near the skin. Nylon 12 was the material of choice because it has a high tensile strength, is water proof and certified biocompatible. It also has enough flexibility to accomodate the patient's movement without losing it’s support.
Tempus collaborated with their partners at HP, Hawkridge systems, and the client to produce a part that exceeded their expectations in terms of finish, colour, accuracy, and cost. We look forward to continue building these parts that have the potential to positively impact patient outcomes and lead to further advancement in the Canadian medical sector.
Tempus 3D is one of only a handful of HP certified 3D printing service bureaus located in Canada. As part of the HP digital manufacturing network, our team has an established track record of working collaboratively with partners across Canada in the prototyping and development of innovative products. Head quartered in British Columbia, Tempus serves customers across North America with expertise in the digital manufacturing revolution.
We at Tempus feel this is just the beginning of what manufacturing will look like in the future; it will be more responsive, more collaborative, and more local allowing innovators across sectors to bring products to market quicker and in a more environmentally friendly way.
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