Home Applications & Case Studies Create it REAL Advances 3D Printing of Orthopaedic Products – Interview with...

Create it REAL Advances 3D Printing of Orthopaedic Products – Interview with Mette Kristensen

Denmark based company Create it REAL is committed to advancing creativity through 3D printing, with the REALvision Core slicer technology at the heart of their solutions. Developed by a skilled team in Aalborg over a decade ago, this slicing technology enables the company to make 3D printing more accessible and contribute positively to the industry, including their orthopaedic applications. In an interview with 3Druck.com, Marketing Manager Mette Kristensen, shares her insight into the industry and comments on the current status of 3D printing in the orthopaedics sector.

The company’s Embrace product line is tailored for orthopaedic applications, providing a comprehensive 3D printing ecosystem for insoles, corsets and seats. This suite includes CAM software, dedicated 3D printers and materials, enabling healthcare business to tailor high-quality products to individual needs. The base for these orthopaedic solutions forms their proprietary Programmable Foam technology, that combines 3D printing and soft TPU materials to create customisable and pressure-distributed components by precisely controlling the hardness.

The complete solution is available through sales, and custom products can be obtained from centralised or local printing facilities.

In addition, Create it REAL offers software solutions and consultancy services designed to empower clients to fully leverage their 3D printing potential. With the advanced capabilities of REALvision Pro and professional support, clients have the tools to achieve their 3D printing goals.

Interview with Mette Kristensen

In an interview with 3Druck.com, Mette Kristensen, Marketing Manager at Create it REAL, shares her insight into the industry and explains why the development of dedicated production solutions is key to bringing additive manufacturing technology to specific applications.

In your opinion, what significance does additive manufacturing have for the orthopaedic industry?

Mette Kristensen

With additive manufacturing, we open doors to a new way of producing customised orthopaedic products. It is not a 1:1 replacement of how products are crafted today but a change to a completely new technology that offers new possibilities for designing and selecting materials.

This is exemplified by the traditional crafting of the corrective braces, where a large polypropylene plate is formed into a brace. The 3D printed version is still the same material, but it is possible to add multi-stiffness so the parts vital for treatment can be more rigid and other parts more flexible to prioritise comfort.

Another example is Programmable FoamⓇ, which replaces traditional foam in orthopaedic applications like seating and insoles. In these applications, additive manufacturing represents a change in production method and material. This combination results in a minimum 90% reduction of waste in production, enhanced comfort from better ventilation and hygiene, and the possibility to incorporate hardness/softness zones in the design.

Additive manufacturing has continuously developed in recent years. Which innovations or technological breakthroughs do you consider to be particularly important for the orthopaedics sector?

The most significant development in our area of FDM printers for orthopaedics and prosthetics is the emergence of dedicated printers for production purposes. Consequently, the industry is shifting from multi-purpose printers to developing dedicated production solutions.

Initially, when we ventured into orthopaedics, we intended to focus entirely on software and processes using existing 3D printers. However, we quickly realised that the technology was not yet mature enough. Printing soft materials like TPU and using them for production requires orthopaedic professionals to operate 3D printers rather than relying on 3D printing experts. Therefore, employing a multi-purpose printer for this task is impractical.

The next step for Create it REAL was the development of a printer designed for and operated by orthopaedic professionals for production purposes marking a departure from prototyping. This printer is entirely geared towards production and utilises FDM technology, offering a clean production environment where protective equipment is unnecessary.

With the dedicated production solution, orthopaedic professionals have a serious alternative to traditional crafting, enabling the production of the required quality that matches traditional crafting and enhances the end product. This is a real breakthrough.

First Corona and the now high inflation pose major challenges for the entire industry. In your opinion, how do the multiple crises affect the additive manufacturing industry?

When we look at the effects of crises like the COVID-19 pandemic and high inflation on the additive manufacturing industry, it’s clear there are some immediate challenges to tackle. For one, disruptions in the supply chain have been a major headache, causing delays in getting materials, manufacturing, and distributing products. On top of that, the rising costs due to inflation are squeezing profits for companies in the industry, making it harder to stay afloat.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. These crises have also pushed companies to rethink their approach. There’s a growing interest in localised manufacturing and on-demand production, which additive manufacturing can really excel at. And let’s not forget the flexibility and speed that additive manufacturing offers. Customising applications quickly and a flexible production setup are huge advantages, especially in times of uncertainty when consumer demands are shifting.

Looking ahead, we’ll see some changes in how the industry operates. Companies will likely lean more into automation and digitalisation to streamline processes and reduce reliance on manual labor. There’s room for innovation and growth in the long run. It’s all about adapting to the situation and finding new opportunities.

What impact do you think additive manufacturing will have on various industries and possibly society as a whole in the coming years?

When we talk about additive manufacturing, it’s hard not to get excited about its potential impact on different industries and society in the coming years. It’s still a young technology that has not maximised its potential.

Additive manufacturing has the power to level the playing field. It could empower smaller businesses and entrepreneurs to compete with the big players, all without needing massive resources. Plus, there’s the sustainability angle. By reducing waste and energy consumption, additive manufacturing could help us move towards a more environmentally friendly future.

It supports the common thought of making it financially sustainable to produce what we need and not what is the best cost-wise.

Here you can find out more about Create it REAL and their orthopaedic solutions.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

3DPResso is a weekly newsletter that links to the most exciting global stories from the 3D printing and additive manufacturing industry.

Privacy Policy*

You can find the privacy policy for the newsletter here. You can unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time. For further questions, you can contact us here.