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Prestigious award for 3T RPD

24 August 2010 ...

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and Rapid Technology and The Additive Manufacturing Community (RTAM) have honoured Phil Kilburn and Ian Halliday of 3T RPD Ltd by announcing them winners of the prestigious Dick Aubin Distinguished Paper Award.  Phil, Ian and their co-author, Jason Watson, Consultant MPT Healthcare Scientist, Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, identified an opportunity to use rapid prototyping technology to produce cranial implants for patients who have parts of the skull removed following trauma or illness.

The paper titled ‘Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) – The future of custom-made cranioplasty design and manufacture’ was recognised as providing an innovative application for this developing technology.

The existing method of producing cranial plates has not changed significantly since its introduction around 40 years ago. The paper reported on research that is being undertaken by 3T and Nottingham University Hospital Trust to design and manufacture cranial plates using a new system which starts with data from CT scans, converts the data into CAD readable STL files, and then builds the plates using additive layer manufacturing technologies. The plate is made directly from the electronic data by building up layers made from titanium powder which is melted selectively using a laser.

Speaking about the work, Phil Kilburn, the report’s principal author and 3T’s Medical Markets Manager said: “Using metal laser sintering process is a big step forward from the process that is widely used at present. Using additive manufacturing technology means the procedure is less traumatic for the patient. Also, we can produce implants which give a better aesthetic result because of the ability to recreate the patient’s anatomy. If our work is adopted by the medical profession, it will potentially reduce theatre time which is better for both the patients and the NHS. All these thing will help to improve the final outcome for patients.”

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