The Irish Medtech Skillnet training programme on “Additive Manufacturing for your medical technology business.” was concluded today at the Additive IMR facility in Mullingar. At the wrap-up of two very successful and informative days, the initial feedback was positive.

Day one’s agenda focused on AM polymer and metal technologies and their current and future potential applications focused specifically on the Medical Device industry. Dr. Darren Nolan (Henkel) was very generous with his time and knowledge and gave an excellent overview on Henkel’s investment in Additive manufacturing and explained why Henkel decided to invest in an Additive Facility in Dublin to develop and supply Materials for AM Industry requirements. We were honoured to be able to welcome the brilliant and humble Dr. José L Aranda, a Thorasic surgeon with Salamanca University Hospital. José demonstrated the power of Additive Manufacturing by presenting a real-life example of the sternocostal reconstruction using a Titanium printed custom made prosthesis implanted in a patient.

Day two the course proceeded to delve deeper into technical aspects of Additive Manufacturing. This included a presentation from Mr. Patrick Byrnes of Croom Precision Medical a company that operates Research, Development, and Innovation (RDI) practices within its day to day operations using Metallic Additive Manufacturing and Advanced Machining as part of the process. This was followed by a presentation by Dr. Sarat Babu (Designer and Engineer who founded and runs Betatype). Sarat is a leader in the field of design for Additive Manufacturing outlined the advances in design and how these procedures can significantly reduce the part build time a critical development for AM to be considered a direct competitor to traditional manufacturing processes. Conor Ryan and Edmond Brady from Renew Health Limited (named the “Emerging Medtech company of the year” at Medtech rising 2017) outlined the Additive Manufacturing process that is used to manufacture their Cerezen product, a mass customised medical device that effectively treats jaw pain and symptoms associated with teeth grinding and clenching.

The afternoon session, everybody was greatly impressed to see the advances being made in 3D Bioprinting to engineer composite hydrogels suitable for the regeneration of whole bones. This was presented by Dr Andrew Daly from The Centre for Bioengineering, Trinity College Dublin. Finally, all attendees were enlightened by Mr. Fergal Finn NSAI on the AM standards and the advances for standards in Ireland and the EU.

Throughout the 2 days, there were 3 interactive workshops hosted covering Polymer and Metal Technologies in addition to AM mass customisation. The WS was interactive and engaging and the winning team received a well-deserved prize for their innovative efforts. In addition to this being a further knowledge building process, it enabled the attendees to network with potential future collaborations in mind. Finally, in addition to the support from Irish Medtech Skillnet we were delighted to have input and encouragement from our workshop judges Adrienne McDonnell (Senior Executive Irish Medtech Association at Ibec) and Dr. Darren Nolan of Henkel who added great energy to the evaluation process.

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