It’s been a while since my last blog, as it’s been a busy summer here at REV•1 Engineering®. Things have been so busy, our team has grown by 30% since the beginning of the year. Not only have we been expanding our team of exceptional knowledge workers, we’ve added another compelling resource to the company; a Hewlett Packard Multi Jet Fusion 580 additive manufacturing system.
If you’re unfamiliar with this technology (https://www8.hp.com/us/en/printers/3d-printers.html), it’s a real game changer that will lower costs and cut weeks, if not months, off early medical device, design phase development. The full color, large format 3D printer delivers significant advantages over earlier, additive manufacturing technologies and greatly compliments our reductive manufacturing capabilities (in-house, CNC machining). The 580 is the fifth 3D printer now in use at REV•1 for early design phase development.
One of the historical constraints of 3D printers was the soft materials used to print. While the parts coming off these machines might help refine design options, they lacked the durability necessary for meaningful testing. The 580 resolves this issue. In fact, the parts coming off the 580 are of such quality, the need for investing in soft tooling in support of pre-clinical testing may have just been relegated to the dust bin of history. Alleviating the need for soft tooling contributes significant cost savings, and more importantly, represents a major reduction in downtime while awaiting tooling to be sourced, designed, cut, shipped and shot. This also eliminates the nagging problem of rapid degradation of parts’ quality coming off soft molds, with each successive shot and cycle.
The 580’s print speed and flexibility is also remarkable. The platform can run multiple, early phase design iterations in a single production batch. Again, this is a substantial time saver and enables design teams to immediately evaluate their options, side-by-side, in a single afternoon.
One of our areas of expertise is in the design and development of complex, interventional catheters. Hand fabricating the handle design options of these devices can be expensive. One recent hand fabricated, early prototype handle design we’ve been working on cost around $3,000 per unit to produce. Using the 580 will drop this cost by two thirds, delivering significant savings for our clients.
The Multi Jet Fusion is already being used to produce commercial orthotics and prosthetics. What’s so exciting for our market space is the coming emergence of biocompatible materials for the platform, enabling human use studies in the not-to-distant future.
As we begin to use the 580, I’ll be sure to share examples of these exciting, new capabilities!
All The Best,
Vice President of Strategic Development