Precision Engineered Product’s new Design & Additive Manufacturing Center, which opens in August 2015, has several projects already underway, particularly prototyping projects using the Center’s advanced capabilities.
Carl Anderson, General Manager at the Design & Additive Manufacturing Center explained that the original concept was to establish a strong design & additive manufacturing presence for Trigon International within the orthopedic manufacturing community centered around Warsaw, Ind. The facility allows interacting with orthopedic designers and manufacturing-process developers in a modern facility only a five-minute drive from their own facilities. The plan is still in effect. However, there have been several significant developments since then that have given this project added significance. For instance:
- Toby Farling has come on board as Director, Additive Manufacturing. Under his guidance the Warsaw facility will become an Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence.
- Two advanced EOS DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) additive manufacturing systems have been installed. To avoid contamination issues one system is dedicated to Titanium (6Al-4V) and the other to stainless steel (7T-4PH).
- These systems have been commissioned and ready for prototyping tasks. Work is underway to obtain necessary FDA approvals that will make it possible to use this equipment for production manufacturing of implantable devices and related surgical instruments.
- The interest in additive manufacturing among product developers has exploded during the past 12 months. The ability of DMLS technology to accurately produce parts directly from the CAD model eliminates the cost and lead times for tooling and makes it possible to produce complex geometries that would be difficult or impossible to reproduce even with high end 5 axis CNC equipment.
In 2015 Precision Engineered Products acquired Trigon International, which now operates as PEP Trigon. The Design & Manufacturing Center will continue, as planned, to provide close support to the orthopedic manufacturing community. However, it will now also house PEP’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence serving as an additive manufacturing resource to PEP customers in many other industries including bioscience, aerospace, energy and transportation. PEP is prepared to invest in equipment and talent to support the rapidly growing additive manufacturing requirements of its customers in these industries.
“We were hoping to introduce these capabilities slowly and methodically,” said Director, Additive Manufacturing Toby Farling. “However, the word got out in Warsaw and we were prevailed upon to handle some urgent prototyping assignments with our new additive manufacturing systems even before our formal opening. For example, we were asked to produce ten tools needed for an cadaver study in less than a week. We also completed a fast turn hybrid manufacturing project using additive manufacturing to produce custom pediatric forceps tips that were subsequently attached to a standard grip. Many assignments like these are coming in and we continue to handle them while preparing for a formal opening in August.
Visitors to the OMTEC 2015 can get a first-hand look at some of the parts we are manufacturing with our DMSL additive manufacturing technology. Visit the company at booth #127 OMTEC 2015, the Annual Orthopedic Manufacturing & Technology Exposition, July 17-18, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Chicago.