The EOS Additive Manufacturing process allows for fast, flexible, and cost-effective production of individual or small customized lots of medical devices and instruments.
Automatic cell washing system for serological testing produced with EOS Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology (Source: Hettich).
Many medical devices and laboratory equipment components are complex, high-quality niche products manufactured in small series. Conventional production often requires expensive tools whose costs will have to factor into the price of these products. Additive Manufacturing, on the other hand, requires no tools and therefore enables cost-effective production of components in smaller series up to a batch size of one.
Medical technology companies have recognized this outstanding business potential and are now firm proponents of the additive layering process. An example is Andreas Hettich GmbH, a centrifuge manufacturer, where the process is used for product development and production. In this way, the company has managed not only to increase the value of its products but also to lower production costs.
The typical production volume of the company's centrifuges amounts to between 10 and 1,000 units per year. Hettich has invented and patented a new type of centrifuge which enables the sedimentation and separation of blood components in one device. The ROTOMAT consists of a drum motor with six containers and drip trays. The containers have a complex geometry and are subject to high rotational speeds with acceleration forces
up to 1,200 g.
Manufacturing the container components using conventional methods required complex tools and time-consuming assembly procedures. After a comprehensive technical evaluation, this specialist manufacturer decided to change its method for producing centrifuge housings: they are now made using the EOS Additive Manufacturing process.
While the cost of producing the modified component is slightly higher, Hettich saves the costs for an entire set of tools. Reduced assembly and logistics costs provide further savings. In addition, the production technology is available "on demand". If required, this enables further design modifications or product variants to be implemented quickly and at minimal cost. For example, different versions can be manufactured for different blood bags.
Hettich was also able to improve product functionality. The now toolless production of the containers and the ability to integrate functions enabled the company to achieve a higher product value – while at the same time reducing production costs.
EOS systems are able to manufacture medical devices. However, EOS cannot offer any guarantee that these devices meet all requirements.