3D scanning has evolved over the years from a slow process with relatively low precision to much faster, highly accurate technologies. The result is the application of 3D scanning in multiple industries, including the manufacturing of medical devices, surgical instruments, and other equipment for the healthcare field.
The advent of light-based scanning systems made it possible to collect data about soft tissues without the risk of damaging them or affecting the accuracy of measurement results with a contact probe. This opened new doors in the medical world and helped solve many challenges.
4 Medical/Manufacturing Problems Solved by 3D Scanning
A few examples of the impact of 3D scanning on the medical industry include:
- Better-fitting prosthetic devices - The human body has few flat surfaces with regular angles. This means that the prosthetic devices traditionally designed for amputees were difficult to properly size, thus resulting in patient discomfort and limited functionality. The ability to create 3D models of the free-form shapes of the body enables manufacturers to create custom prosthetic devices that conform to each patient's body.
- Better-designed prosthetic devices - In addition to fitting well, many patients want a prosthetic device that looks like a natural body part. Before non-contact 3D scanning, physicians would make a cast of a body part and develop a CAD model that would be used to make a custom prosthesis. Non-contact 3D scanning has enabled much faster data collection and significantly improved accuracy.
- Reverse engineering device parts - As artificial joints and other medical devices age, the components sometimes must be repaired or replaced. If there is no existing CAD model to replicate it, 3D scanning can be employed to reverse engineer a new part that matches, or to detect wear.
- Inspection and validation of devices - High-precision manufacturing is critical for certain types of devices, often at a very small scale. For example, parts such as micro-valves, stents, and venous filters must have no defects and conform to highly detailed engineering specifications. 3D scanning can be used in a manufacturing environment to provide quality control both in-line and in batch inspection applications. Because results can be produced relatively quickly, the technology is also well suited for process validation.
The potential applications for 3D scanning in the healthcare industry are limitless. If you work in the medical manufacturing industry and need an outsourced 3D scanning provider, get in touch with Q-PLUS Labs today. We are also an authorized reseller of multiple device types from many different manufacturers and can help you set up a new 3D scanning system in your own lab.