Improving Orthopedic Care via Additive Manufacturing with SOLIDWORKS
CONFIGURATIONS POWER DESIGN, 3D PRINTING DRIVES PRODUCTIONMercuris’ approach relies on the parametric nature of SOLIDWORKS design software and the power of SOLIDWORKS design configurations. By identifying the key parameters that drive prosthetic design, such as foot/limb dimensions, customer weight, and individualized loading conditions, Mecuris has established design tables that encompass all possible combinations of parameters. The tables help automate design - producing custom designs in seconds rather than days - and eliminate the need to separately model every prosthetic design. “As we add more and more parameters, our prosthetic shapes gain more and more degrees of freedom,” notes CEO Manuel Opitz. “We then team with 3D printing service bureaus to cost-effectively produce the custom prosthetic in polyamide 12, a standard thermoplastic that we’ve determined has very reliable material properties for this purpose, using selective laser sintering. This approach allows us to configure and produce a prosthetic anywhere in the world.”
ADDITIONAL AUTOMATION VIA SOLIDWORKS APIMecuris also leveraged the open SOLIDWORKS Application Programming Interface (API) to connect SOLIDWORKS design configurations to the Mecuris Solution Platform, an intuitive, online, browser-based prosthetic configuring and ordering application that the company created for O&P professionals. “Our software guides a certified prosthetist/orthotist or orthopedist through the configuration process, prompting them to enter dimensional or 3D scan data,” Opitz explains. “This way, the professional becomes our co-creator for the prosthetic design, especially in form and functionality.” “Our Software Lead Felix Gundlack leveraged the open SOLIDWORKS API to create the transfer protocol that allows our online application to communicate with SOLIDWORKS,” Breuninger adds. “By doing this, customers receive live feedback on how the prosthetic will look. This automation sets us apart from other companies that spend a lot of time individualizing each order.”
EXPANDING PRODUCT LINE TO INCLUDE COSMETIC COVERSMecuris is also using SOLIDWORKS design and the SOLIDWORKS Visualize rendering solutions to expand its product line into 3D-printed cosmetic covers for prosthetics. If a patient wants a honeycomb pattern or a faux tattoo, they can quickly create the design online and receive a visual representation of the concept. For the first time ever, prosthetic wearers have also become co-creators of the look they want for their own devices. “SOLIDWORKS Premium is a good visualization tool that makes a good first impression,” Breuninger points out. “As we continue to grow, we plan on using SOLIDWORKS Visualize software more to create photorealistic renderings of cosmetic cover concepts for use on our solution platform.”
Establish and grow a 3D-printing-based orthopedic products business to quickly and cost-effectively create individualized, high-quality, and aesthetically pleasing prosthetic and orthotic products, improving patient satisfaction and outcomes in the process.
Take advantage of the SOLIDWORKS for Entrepreneurs program to obtain discounted product development software solutions to accelerate initial research and development prior to standardizing on SOLIDWORKS Premium design software.
- Customized prosthetic and orthotic designs in seconds compared to hours and days
- Shortened new product development cycles to three to four months
- Reduced production times to 24 hours compared to weeks and months
- Automated configuration of individualized prostheses and orthoses