GE’s 3D Printing Production Quest, in partnership with NineSigma, challenged participants to use additive manufacturing to produce complex parts with high precision using refractory metals, a capability that could transform how components are manufactured for x-ray-based medical imaging systems such as mammography, cardiac catheterization and computed tomography. As the global medical imaging market is expected to reach $35.35 billion by 2019, GE envisions additive manufacturing enabling new component designs that greatly simplify manufacturing and reduce cost, while improving image quality and diagnostic capability.
Refractory metals have high density allowing them to effectively block x-rays without the environmental and health hazards associated with lead, and also have very high melting temperatures, up to 6,000°F (3,400°C). They are used in x-ray systems to control the path of x-rays from the source through the patient’s body and some components such as x-ray source tubes that take advantage of the high melting temperature.
The winners were selected based on statistical analysis of their dimensional capability as well as several qualitative aspects of their entries.
Participants representing research teams from academia, start-ups and established businesses from six countries competed in the Quest in effort to explore new uses for 3D printing technologies in the healthcare sector. 3D Printing Production Quest winners include:
· Martin Leuterer, EOS GmbH, Germany
· Rob Snoeijs, LayerWise, Belgium
· Bernhard Tabernig, PLANSEE SE Innovation Services, Austria
Denys Resnick, vice president of Strategic Programs at NineSigma said, “Through open innovation, we are able to uncover fresh perspectives from experts in new areas, accelerate the pace of innovation and transform industries, faster. This is the beauty of harnessing the power of a global network of connected innovators from across industries.”
At GE, more than 200 high-tech manufacturing technologies are used in over 80 plants around the globe to drive greater product performance, quality and cost savings for healthcare customers. Additive manufacturing is just beginning to find a place in medical imaging systems. The results of the 3D Printing Production Quest opens up new opportunities in x-ray systems that we can only begin to imagine.
GE Open Innovation