writes copy 06 May 2021

3D Systems Expands in Denver to Address Demand for 3D Printed Products

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As part of its planned expansion, 3D Systems announced it would add 50,000 square feet of facility space to its FDA-registered and ISO 13485-certified Denver, Colorado site. Along with new additive manufacturing (AM) technologies and expert teams, the new layout will support the increasing demand for high-reliability, patient-specific healthcare and industrial 3D printed products and applications. The expansion will be completed by the second quarter of 2022, increasing 3D System's footprint in Denver by over 50%.

In addition to providing a collaboration space for the growing teams, the expansion will add multiple 3D printers '“ including forthcoming products – and large-scale post-processing equipment that will automate key aspects of the production workflow for parts as large as those created using the scalable manufacturing DMP Factory 500 system, capable of building seamless metal parts up to 500 x 500 x 500 mm.

Patient-specific anatomical models. Image courtesy of 3D Systems.

The expansion will allow 3D Systems to develop and demonstrate the technical and economic viability of a greater range of additive solutions. In turn, they will support a fast-growing healthcare business and expand industrial application development capabilities for 3D Systems’ Application Innovation Group (AIG), which is on a mission to accelerate advanced applications and innovative AM products.

According to SmarTech Analysis Vice President of Research Scott Dunham, within the healthcare segment, there are many ways that AM has been and will continue to be leveraged. During the 2020 Additive Manufacturing Strategies (AMS) conference, he highlighted that there already are some very industrialized serial manufacturing applications in healthcare, so the emphasis is set on the customization of these devices. Customization is just what 3D Systems is interested in. In fact, the company believes patient-specific solutions will transform how healthcare is delivered.

For more than a decade, 3D Systems has created a portfolio of industry-leading healthcare solutions, including patient-specific surgical instruments and implants printed at its Denver location. The company has manufactured more than two million medical device implants, collaborated with surgeons to plan and guide more than 140,000 patient-specific procedures, and supported 100-plus CE-marked and FDA-cleared products.

Just last month, 3D Systems introduced new 3D printed polymer-metal patient-specific occlusal-based hybrid guides for maxillofacial surgeries. In 2020, the company got an FDA clearance for its 3D printed Vantage Ankle PSI (patient-specific instrumentation) surgical cutting guides, which are in high demand since they can be 70% thinner than previously possible, facilitating a close, snap-like, fit to patient anatomy that cannot be achieved in the traditional material.

Point-of-care (POC) facilities increasingly show interest in using 3D solutions as new technology emerges, becomes more user-friendly, and incorporates automation.

The company has supported industry leaders, innovative startups, and government agencies to develop a diverse portfolio of groundbreaking precision healthcare applications and new medical technology. Last year it teamed up with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to enable on-site production of medical devices and help improve patient care for U.S. veterans. Similarly, orthopedic device company NuVasive leveraged 3D Systems platforms to create a full line of spine implants and technology.

As one of the leading 3D printing companies, 3D Systems is really leaning on its healthcare segments to expand the business, and this was proven throughout 2020. Amid a year of financial distraught for many businesses worldwide, the Rock Hill, South Carolina-based solutions provider, reported better than expected revenues for the last quarter of the year, mainly from a significant increase in sales from its healthcare segment. Driven by strong sales in medical applications, the company sees growth opportunities in medical devices and the emerging field of personalized health services, which encompasses custom surgical aids and implants.

Through this next phase of investment, 3D Systems will accelerate time-to-market, expand its offerings, and better support the needs of its rapidly growing customer base. Positioning it to continue its strong growth trajectory for patient-specific medical applications through expanded production capacity and ongoing product innovations. It will also enable the company to aggressively increase its participation in the larger patient-specific orthopedics market by developing and deploying new joint replacement solutions.

Slimmer profile guides provide easier placement in areas with limited exposure. Image courtesy of 3D Systems.

Accelerating innovation for industrial applications is also a big part of the Denver expansion. Increased resources will address the demand for highly regulated industrial applications for polymer and metal AM technologies. 3D Systems President and CEO Jeffrey Graves considered that its customer base seeks the performance, flexibility, and cost benefits of large-scale 3D printing, driving demand for 3D Systems products and services.

Graves also highlighted the critical importance of the services provided by 3D Systems' AIG to accelerate the journey from proof-of-concept for new customer applications to full-scale workflow definition and initial production. AIG experts validate and support obtaining certification and regulatory approvals, which are critical to accelerating product launch in highly regulated markets. Once certified, the parts are ready for production either at a 3D Systems manufacturing facility or the customer's site. The new Denver infrastructure investment will allow 3D Systems to add expertise and advanced polymer and metal AM technologies to address new, more complex industrial applications for a wider range of industries, such as aerospace.

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