Home Applications & Case Studies BIOPROTECE relies on metal 3D printing to improve implant production

BIOPROTECE relies on metal 3D printing to improve implant production

BIOPROTECE S.A., a manufacturer of orthopaedic implants in Argentina, has significantly optimized its production processes through the use of metal 3D printing. The company, which has been in the market for over 25 years, employs a team of 86 people, including a specialized 3D printing department.

Manuel Nelson, head of the 3D printing department, explains:“We started with a five-axis machining centre”. But in 2013, the increasing demand for customized implants clearly demonstrated the limits of traditional CNC machining.

In words of Manuel “to produce custom implants, machines had to be reprogrammed and production schedules changed. Stopping a machine for three days to produce custom parts proved to be inefficient. Partnering for 3D printed implant designs offered a partial solution, but a delivery time of 5 months remained unacceptable for oncology patients”.

To overcome these challenges, BIOPROTECE S.A. invested strategically in the expansion of its metal 3D printing capacities. After extensive evaluation of various providers, the company decided to partner with Eplus3D. “We met with the managers who have made the decision to invest in the new printer. Eplus3D engineers gave us a recommendation on which machine to buy,” the manager highlighted.

Ultimately, BIOPROTECE S.A. acquired the EP-M260 metal printer, which features advanced metal powder bed fusion (MPBF) technology. This industrial printing machine offers power options of 500W or 700W and a versatile layer thickness of 20 to 120 μm, enabling efficient production of complex metal structures.

“Previously, simple implants, such as Temporomandibular Joint Reconstruction, with high volumes took a week to produce with CNC machining. Now, thanks to metal 3D printing, we can deliver these parts overnight”, Manuel emphasized. The printer not only improves efficiency, but also promotes innovation in the development of new implants.

Currently, BIOPROTECE S.A. mainly uses titanium for the production of two key 3D-printed implants: the titanium trabecular spine line and uncemented hip prostheses. The company also offers customized implant adaptations to meet the different needs of customers.

In view of the increasing demand, BIOPROTECE S.A. plans to further expand its production capacities in metal 3D printing.

The Manager of the 3D Printing Division explained, ” The purchase of the next printer is planned for 2024, likely an EP-M260 or an EP-M150. Occasionally, our clientele requests components crafted from alternative materials, necessitating outsourcing, which presents a significant logistical challenge. Our vision entails acquiring a secondary printer that can accommodate these less commonly used materials within Argentina.”

This expansion underscores BIOPROTECE S.A.’s commitment to high-quality parts, improved patient care and innovation leadership in the field of medical implants. The ongoing collaboration with Eplus3D reinforces this commitment and extends the benefits to a wider patient population.

With these strategic actions, BIOPROTECE S.A. continues to position itself as a key player in the implant manufacturing sector, contributing to the improvement of healthcare in Argentina.

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