Stratasys is partnering with British Brightwake to produce new blood collection medical equipment.
A lot has been said in the news recently about the dangers of 3D printing, Specifically, the ability it provides to produce plastic guns which can elude security checks at airports. But 3D printers can also produce some of the most advanced medical products on the market.
Founded in 1989 in Minnesota by S. Scott and Lisa Strump, Stratasys is a manufacturer of 3D printers and 3D production systems for office-based and direct digital manufacturing solutions. In 2012, Stratasys merged with privately held Objet Ltd., a leading manufacturer of 3D printers based in Rehovot, Israel. The merger was completed on December 3, 2012 and the market capitalization of the new company was estimated at $3.0 billion.
In January, Stratasys announced that it had developed the world’s first fully functional color 3D printer.
In partnership with the British company, Brightwake, Stratasys has announced that it will produce a life saving blood collection device. Hemosep is a machine which can recover the blood lost during operations. This is known as auto transfusion, a process which recycles a patient’s blood quickly back into his body and as such reduces the need for traditional blood transfusions. It would also cut down on the cost of surgery.
An additional benefit of the device is that some religions prohibit blood transfusions so their adherents will still be able to undergo major surgeries. Hemosep has already undergone successful clinical trials in over 100 open-heart surgery operations in Turkey and now the device is being tested in England, primarily on religious patients who refuse the use of donor blood for major operations.
Brightwake turned to Stratasys to produce with 3D printing some of the components that its Hemosep prototype needed. These parts include the filtration and cooling systems. For now these parts have been made of plastic, but the device will eventually be made entirely from metal.
In order to create a successful prototype for Hemosep, Brightwake used the Stratasys Dimension 1200es 3D printer to create models of some of the device’s central parts, like the filtration and cooling systems.
Steve Cotton, Brightwake’s director of research and development said in a statement, “The Hemosep consists of a bag that uses chemical sponge technology and a mechanical agitator to concentrate blood sucked from a surgical site or drained from a heart-lung machine after surgery. The cells are then returned to the patient via blood transfusion. In a climate of blood shortage, this recycling methodology has the potential to be a game-changer in the medical industry, saving the National Health Service (NHS) millions.”
While the need for accuracy, speed and accessibility led Brightwake to Stratasys and 3D printing for help, using 3D components saves about 1, 000 GBP per unit.
This must come as good news to the shareholders in Stratasys. Last Friday its shares dropped 7% due to general investor concerns over high tech stocks.
Formerly the CEO of Object Ltd, David Reis currently holds that position with Stratasys. He has a BA in economics and management from the Technion in Haifa and an MBA from the University of Denver.
Founded in 1979, Brightwake is an engineering production and research company located in Notingham, England. It provides provides expertise in textiles to the professional medical, cosmetic, industrial, retail and aviation industries.