The delivery of personalised Ti6Al4V trauma implants within 7 days will be realised by the industrial SMEs for the development and validation of innovative interactions between the patient-hospital and implant design-manufacturing process.

Currently most implants are 'standard' (or come in a limited range of sizes) manufactured from titanium alloy Ti6Al4V and using a variety of costly and time-consuming manufacturing techniques; investment cast from raw material ingot, forged shapes from wrought bar and machined shapes from wrought bar or plate precursors. While this is adequate for some medical implants such as hips or knees, given the degree of similarity between human beings, for maxillofacial implants, the need for customised shapes/sizes which are person specific is vital. These products currently have to be produced using expensive, labour-intensive techniques.

Also, for these traditional manufacturing techniques further finishing techniques for the final implant are also required, including finish machining, finish grinding, wire or sink electro discharge machining, finish hand polishing, finish grit blasting, implant identification and cleaning and passivation processing.

The ImplantDirect approach will provide on demand customer (patient) driven design and manufacturing through individual data capture and reverse engineering at source, data manipulation, material properties specification and finally implant production using the highly flexible and material efficient Rapid Manufacturing (RM) technique of Selective Laser Melting (SLM).

ImplantDirect concept

Currently, large Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) medical implant companies produce a limited amount of variety in the size and shape of the implants they provide in order to cut manufacturing costs. Due to the expense incurring for personalised implants the patientÂ’s body is modified to accept the nearest fitting standard-sized implant. Traditional implant systems come with a large inventory of metal surgical cutting blocks, spacers and instruments. Hospitals have to manage their inventory and sterilise multiple cases of these heavy instruments after each procedure. Although traditional implants are effective, advances in technology are providing personalised solutions to some of the challenges faced by patients and surgeons especially in the trauma region.