For faster assessment in the clinical trials of its vision diagnostic systems, Italy-based surgical eye equipment developer Nidek Technologies has adopted US-based Stratasys’ Objet500 Connex3 multi-material, colour 3D printer.
Compared to prior methods, the use of the 3D printer is said to minimise prototyping costs by 75%, and lead times by 50%.
The colour printer is being used to create advanced 3D printed materials, which are in turn used to develop parts that mimic the final components.
The new method allows complete and rapid assessment of the fit, form and functions of prototype devices, and accelerates time-to-market.
As Nidek’s ophthalmological devices come in direct contact with patients, the development of fully-functional prototypes that replicate the final product is considered to be essential.
Nidek Technologies managing director Cesare Tanassi said: “Our prototyping process has become much more accurate and streamlined since incorporating Stratasys 3D printing into our workflow.
“Previously we were constrained by the prototyping restrictions associated with traditional methods. This proved costly in terms of lead times and capital, particularly with moulds and CNC machining.
“We found that we had limited flexibility over our prototypes and, should iterations be required, this resulted in escalating costs.”
Tanassi further added that 3D printing addresses these concerns and promotes faster validation of designs prior to the clinical trial evaluation of prototypes.
During the process, the costly metal parts of devices such as Gonioscope and micro perimeter are being replaced with engineered 3D printed materials.
Image: With Stratasys 3D printing solutions, Nidek Technologies is producing high-performance prototypes. Photo: courtesy of Business Wire.