Global industrial group, Sandvik, has invested in a technologically advanced direct metal laser sintering machine (DMLS) in order to provide rapid production capabilities to its customers, unique amongst contract manufacturers.
Sandvik is now significantly reducing the time required to cost-effectively develop working prototypes, which means its customers can bring new innovations to market far more quickly than was previously possible. Sandvik is also exploiting the powder-based technique used by the DMLS machine to manufacture to almost any design, thereby removing limitations previously imposed on design teams within medical device OEMs. In an industry where innovation and speed to market are crucial differentiators, these benefits represent a real commercial advantage to OEMs.
Through this investment and the enhanced capabilities it brings, Sandvik has further strengthened its position as a strategic partner to medical technology companies, helping them improve their competitiveness.
Tord Lendau, President Sandvik MedTech, explained: "Medical device OEMs operate in a highly competitive market. We want to leverage Sandvik's long experience within powder metallurgy to deliver real value to OEMs and so must continuously introduce new manufacturing techniques, which is why we have made this significant investment.
"Medical device manufacturers can now capitalise on enhanced capabilities and improve the speed to market of their new designs and innovations."
The new capabilities provided by the DMLS machine are ideal for the production of working prototypes of medical devices and for complex custom-made instruments.
John Reynolds, special projects manager at Sandvik explained: "Prototyping is an important stage in the creation of a new device, since it provides the opportunity to explore the design and make the necessary adjustments prior to full production. However, most rapid prototyping processes do not produce a working model while those that do are time consuming and more expensive.
"By using the DMLS machine we can bring to bear rapid production techniques that enable us to quickly and cost-effectively manufacture a working prototype. This means our customers can present a working model to their customers in a fraction of the time it would take with conventional manufacturing techniques and bring the final design to market far quicker.
"We can also now manufacture almost any design the OEM can create, irrespective of the complexity of the geometry. This means our customers' design teams are not constrained by the manufacturing limitations previously typical in the industry. They have the flexibility to respond with precision to the individual preferences of any one surgeon or the specific needs of a patient."
By enhancing its capabilities through this significant investment and combining it with its materials and manufacturing expertise, Sandvik is helping OEMs achieve real competitive advantage in a challenging market.