The Fortune 500 medical technology company Stryker, among other products offering joint replacement implants, will build a 3D printing manufacturing facility this year.
The news was announced by CEO Kevin Lobo during the company’s 2015 earning calls. Currently, Stryker’s portfolio of 3D printed products includes components for their knee systems such as the tibial baseplate and patella. The cementless implant with its porous 3D printed structure allows for regrowth of bone.
Additionally, a 3D printed spinal implant is scheduled for launch this year.
However, 3D printed products are not likely to replace existing ones – at least not within the next 10 years, according to Lobo: “For the foreseeable future, at least the next three years, 4 years or so, our focus is really on innovative new products and not replacing our existing products with 3-D printed products. The pipeline of innovative new geometries that can’t be made without 3-D printing is the area of focus. So, it’s not about trying to replace our products and drive down cost. Over time, 10 years from now, that could be the case, but in the near to midterm, it’s really focused on innovative new products.”
He also added that as 3D printing metal is a more complicated technology, that the company has been exploring for years. This is why Stryker will set their focus much more on innovative new products with geometries only achievable using 3D printing technology, and not necessarily replace whole systems for now.