This initiative applies to both Ricoh’s centralized medical device manufacturing facility and the company’s point-of-care facilities. The partnership with Materialise aims to make 3D printing in healthcare more personalized and accessible, particularly through the expansion of on-site point-of-care centers in hospitals.
The increasing use of 3D printing means that hospitals are either setting up their own point-of-care centers or expanding existing services. One challenge is that 3D printed models and instruments used in patient care are considered medical devices and therefore subject to FDA regulations. RICOH 3D for Healthcare enables hospitals to implement point-of-care manufacturing quickly and cost-effectively without having to become an FDA-registered medical device manufacturer themselves.
“Materialise’s software tools will not only help Ricoh provide a better experience for its customers, but also support Ricoh in its goal democratizing equitable access to impactful tools such as patient-specific anatomic models,” said Gary Turner, Managing Director, Additive Manufacturing, North America, Ricoh USA, Inc. “The ecosystem of Ricoh partners, inclusive of Materialise, Merative and Stratasys, has enabled Ricoh to bring world-class software in a first-of-its-kind, end-to-end solution to different healthcare institutions around country to drive more Point of Care locations and capabilities nationally.”
“Outside of large academic medical centers, physician and patient access to 3D printing applications has been limited,” said Bryan Crutchfield, Vice President and General Manager of Materialise North America. “This is often due to a lack of resources and technical knowledge to implement and operationalize the technology in the hospital environment. This partnership with Ricoh brings a large managed services infrastructure, which will enable hospital systems to more quickly and affordably implement and scale 3D technology for their physicians and patients. We are excited to partner with Ricoh to bring our end-to-end software platforms to support 3D planning and 3D printing applications at the Point of Care.”
In addition to the partnership with Materialise, Ricoh is working with Merge by Merative and Stratasys to further improve the availability and accessibility of 3D printed medical models. The collaboration with Merge aims to simplify the workflow, while the strategic collaboration with Stratasys expands the use of 3D printing technologies for medical models.
RICOH 3D for Healthcare has already received FDA approvals for patient-specific anatomical models in various medical fields. With the ability to manage 3D printing operations at the point of care, Ricoh offers an efficient solution to produce these models. The gradual integration of point-of-care manufacturing into the healthcare system is expected to create a nationwide ecosystem for connectivity and cross-system collaboration. Ricoh already supports thousands of healthcare facilities in the US, making the company a major player in the healthcare 3D printing space.