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10 December 2016

Additive Manufacturing in medical applications in Switzerland 1/2

At FHNW I was meeting Ralf Schumacher, a scientist and lecturer.
Ralf Schumacher is also the CEO of MIMEDIS AG, a company which is providing patient specific medical solutions.

Ralf Schumacher has been applying and developing Additive Manufacturing technologies for many years. So he is a senior expert when it comes to medical modeling and Selective Laser Melting.
The laboratory at FHNW campus in Basel is equipped with two laser-based powder bed fusion / SLM systems. A Realizer SLM100 installed in 2006 and an MTT Technologies / SLM Solutions SLM250HL from 2010. The SLM250HL running on medical grade titanium and the system is certified for the production of medical devices. Certainly, a process not many universities would take on. Ralf explained to me how much effort it took to certify machine and process and showed me the documentation. In 2017 another SLM machine will be added to the set-up to have a second machine solely for research purposes. Further, the lab is equipped with poly-jet machines and powder bed infusion systems. A bioprinter is used in another department.
So Ralf and his team are working on better solutions and outcomes for patients through the use of AM technologies. From studies on scaffold sizes for bone in-grows in implants to the development of SLM-alloys for implants to the processing of bio-absorbable materials with AM.
Important to mention is the variety of very specialised testing equipment to assess the results in-house at FHNW.  Close ties to medical industry, surgeons and hospitals making the work at FHNW everything but blue-sky research. 

Ralf is also CEO of the MIMEDIS AG a company specialised on custom implants, surgical-guides, and preoperative planning models. With turn-around times of typically 3-5 days, MIMEDIS delivers patient-specific medical devices when off-the-shelf solutions simply wouldn’t do the job. So it was very interesting to hear about the current work and getting a glimpse of the future of the company.

Written by Matthias Bringezu