Industry ready to streamline at MWC

The line of speakers for the two-and-a-half-day World Conference 2015 – the largest yet hosted by the leading 3D printing service – immediately gives a glimpse of how difficult it is to try to put some order into additive nanofabrication, especially when its When it comes to medical applications (which represents at least 60% of all panel speakers).

And, yet, that’s exactly what Materialize wants to do and has begun to do, one of the few companies that captures nearly every segment of 3D printing and has many different AM technologies, design software in its own right. , Materials, Scanners, and Full Service Solutions.

This was reflected in the number and quality of speakers, with 4 concurrent talks at any one time, divided between medical, consumer, design and industrial applications, making it very difficult – if not impossible – to choose who to attend. .

Each talk would deserve a dedicated article and, even though, in many cases, those talks were included in the stories we’ve already written about on 3DPI, they provided an insight into how those stories have developed.

The story of Dr. Glenn Green, associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology at the University of Michigan, who saved the life of a child suffering from tracheomalacia, is a perfect example: at the time, the creation and implantation of caprolactone-based, 3D-printed trachea was a highly experimental procedure. , which was given special permission by the FDA to perform.

Now, the benefits of this type of operation have been adequately documented in several clinical trials. And there were dozens of other cases, illustrated by doctors, researchers, and university professors who came from every continent.

MWC was a massive effort in the international arena, and not just in that sense. It filled several halls of the beautiful Square (which is actually a large glass cube) space in the center of Brussels, offering the full scope of 3D printing’s current (not future) potential in industrial manufacturing, art, design, education and the consumer. does. Application.

Nearly every opinion leader, industry analyst, and lead researcher participated and was able to contribute to its success, leaving many participants speechless at what this company and 3D printing in general have been able to achieve over the years. is.

The road ahead is still very long. This was reflected in one of the most vividly remembered slides from Wohlers Associates’ opening presentation. The slide noted that, while the entire 3D printing industry is now worth $4.1 billion, that’s less than any mass-market product, such as skin cream, which has a global turnover of $18 billion.

Medical applications represent the area that is currently best prepared for biological development and that requires the most organizational work, which is what it intends to focus on going forward.

“Ever since we started the company, we thought that medical applications would be a very important part of what we were going to do,” Wilfried Vankren, CEO and founder of Materialize, told me, “We realized then, and we Now even more aware, that the medical field is where we have the greatest responsibility and where we can provide the most support.Materialize is one of the companies that has made the most of the use of 3D printing in the medical field. provided support.”

Now, the company feels that there is a dire need to standardize these practices globally. Mr. James Coburn, who pioneered ‘3D Printed Medical Devices and FDA Perspectives on AM’ in the Medical Applications track, said he found over 6,000 medical articles written on the use of 3D printing; Although only 200 of these have real practical applications.

“That is why we invited them and many of the most important opinion leaders and researchers in this field,” explained Mr. Vankren, “we want them to talk with each other to streamline and optimize development and Network and adopt 3D printing technologies in the medical field.”

To do this Materialize is set to launch a series of 5 conferences, focused on the subject of measurement and methodology, to create common standards that will accelerate and facilitate the process and regulation of medical 3D printing. do.

“We, as a commercial company, are pleased to contribute by initiating these conventions; however, we feel it will be necessary that an independent organ take this venture forward with the direct participation of both the FDA and the European Commission. ,” reflected Mr. Vancrain.

As important as this aspect is, until now it was not the only topic that was discussed.

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