Medicine and 3D printing – already inextricably linked


Two-day Medical, Dental and Orthopaedic Technology forum to highlight increasing importance of additive manufacturing in the medical sector

Medicine and 3D printing have become inextricably linked. According to a survey by the digital association BITKOM and the Hartmannbund doctors’ association, almost half of doctors in Germany (47 percent) believe that implants and prosthetics will be made using additive manufacturing (AM) by 2030. The growing importance of additive manufacturing for medical products is also reflected in this year’s programme for the Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D conference at Messe Erfurt. “In previous years, our events generally covered developments in the fields of medical, dental and orthopaedic technology separately and at different times. This year, we are combining the topics to create a two-day forum on 6 and 7 June, during which key companies and research institutions from Germany, France and the Netherlands will present the current status of, and future prospects for, 3D printing in medical technology”, explains Michael Kynast, CEO of Messe Erfurt GmbH.

“Surgical and medical products manufactured using additive techniques are already in use in many different areas. In this forum, we want to show where these efforts are working, and what we still have left to do. One area we will focus on is how additive manufacturing can help us become even faster and more productive. 3D printing works very well for customised solutions, such as bone replacements. However, mass production is equally possible, for example in the field of dentistry. Along with well-established technical solutions, we are also focusing on creating a firm legal foundation for the digital manufacturing chain”, explains Ralf Schumacher, Head of Digital Surgical Solutions at the Swiss company Medartis AG, and convenor of the Medical, Dental and Orthopaedic Technology forum.

A number of presentations will deal with the legal and social aspects of AM. In addition to the general differences for the medical sector in terms of AM delivery and service relationships, it also has to prioritise the protection and secure handling of sensitive patient data. The sector needs to decide on the responsibilities of all those involved in the process, from doctors and CAD designers to printing service providers and material suppliers. There are also specific issues relating to medical law, such as the new medical device regulations passed by the European Parliament in mid-2017.

3D printing offers opportunities for high-quality prosthetics in the dental technology sector. The forum will also discuss other scenarios that could open up in this exciting field, for instance for small parts laboratories, increasing needs for specialists, new business principles and increasing chair-side applications for dentists.

Improved procedures and manufacturing processes, the use of advanced materials for even more stable, customised orthopaedic and surgical implants, and bio-compatible high-speed printing solutions in dental medicine are further areas that will be covered during the two-day event.

The Medical, Dental and Orthopaedic Technology forum is part of the Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D international trade fair and conference for additive technologies, which will take place from 5 to 7 June 2018 at Messe Erfurt. The event is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. It has been held in Erfurt since 2004, and is a pioneer of 3D printing technologies on an international level. Its comprehensive conference programme, the only one of its kind, also includes the Users Conference and AM Science
forum being held on 6 and 7 June respectively. A new forum on Law will be held on 5 June, alongside the Contract Additive Manufacturing, Automotive Industry, Design, and Tool, Mould and Fixture Making forums. The 3D-Printed Electronics & Functionality and 3D Metal Printing forums will follow on 6 June, with the Aviation forum on 7 June closing the three-day long fair.

The 3D printing community will once again come together on all three days for the 3D Printing Conference. As well as discussing current issues and technical innovations, speakers will give behind-the-scenes insights into their research and development activities and selected competitions. Talks will cover everything from start-up financing to digital fabrication and education. Messe Erfurt is also once again looking for the most innovative company founders for its Start-Up Award and the best design ideas for its 3D Pioneers Challenge.

More than 200 exhibitors will be presenting the latest developments, products and services in additive manufacturing at the trade fair, which is sold out.

In 2017, 4,800 (2016: 4,500) trade visitors and conference participants, and 207 exhibitors (2016: 176) from 13 countries attended Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D in Erfurt.


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You can find impressions of Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D 2017 here.