Shukla Medical saves $120,000 with metal 3D printed surgical tool prototypes

Surgical tool manufacturer Shukla Medical is saving $120,000 per year after harnessing Markforged’s Metal X 3D printing system to prototype surgical instruments.

The company, a subsidiary of aerospace manufacturer S.S. White Technologies, supplies orthopaedic surgeons across the United States.

It has traditionally used CNC machining to develop its prototypes, which would be sent to orthopaedic surgeons to test before the final parts were manufactured, but with the long lead times growing tiresome decided a change of approach was necessary in 2017. The company first installed one of Markforged’s continuous carbon fibre platforms and later brought a Metal X system in-house too to take advantage of its 17-4 PH Stainless Steel, a similar material to that of its end products.

Not only have lead times reduced, and surgeons have been able to assess functional prototypes, but Shukla Medical also achieved return of investment within one year.

“3D printing the prototype product helps our surgeons test the part in their hands before going into the operating room, so they already have the experience and confidence in the tool,” commented Zack Sweitzer, Product Development Manager at Shukla Medical. “We’re going to bring a lot more products to market faster with our Markforged printers and we finally have the design freedom to do it.”

“The Metal X has let us print more complicated parts to conform to implant geometry that would have otherwise been very expensive to machine,” added Adam Gosik-Wolfe, Mechanical Engineer at Shukla Medical. “I think we are at the tip of the iceberg with what we will be able to make with the Metal X in the coming years.”

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