A worldwide leader in prosthetics breaks mold.
“The process was unreliable as we could never guarantee that we would receive the mold undamaged,” said Elio Antenucci, CAD Systems Manager at RTM. Additionally, importing heavy molds from as far away as China resulted in expensive shipping costs and lengthy delivery times of around 30 days before reaching the Italian manufacturing house.
Using its Stratasys FDM 3D printer, the company produces a number of prosthesis that surpass those produced on its industrial robots.
Subtractive manufacturing a negative for prosthetics.
Previous prosthesis molds produced in chalk resulted in expensive shipping costs and were prone to damage during transit.
Cut tooling turnaround time.
RTM turned to Stratasys’ 3D printing technology to produce prototypes with greater and more affordable personalization. This improves patient outcomes, usability and affordability. Additionally, 3D printing is a clean process, enabling manufacturers to go from scan to design to print in a digital-only environment. “3D printing skips this time-consuming resin-soaking process and eliminates the restrictions of the foam. For us, Stratasys’ technology gives us greater manufacturing freedom than chalk molding and far surpasses those of other artisan prosthetics,” said Antenucci. 3D printing allows RTM to produce individual prosthesis molds by mirroring scans of the unaffected limb. These are then covered in silicon to produce the final prosthesis, with the 3D printed core model later removed.
in FDM thermoplastics, these prosthesis molds are mechanically strong and
perform much like the final product.
The growing demand for personalized prosthetics requires the ability to
customize quickly and with reliable results. By using additive manufacturing,
RTM can produce durable prosthetics with unparalleled precision in a wide
range of advanced 3D printing materials to save both time and costs.
“By introducing Stratasys 3D printing in-house we can receive a customer scan from anywhere in the world in a matter of minutes and can rapid prototype the mold within a few hours. Since installing the technology, we have cut our prosthetic tool turnaround time by as much as 93%,” said Antenucci.