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A true challenge with real results. 

Doctors make house calls, but there are no patients to see at Medtronic’s Sofamor Danekprototype lab. Instead, they come to see their ideas for new surgical instruments become working prototypes with the help of FDM prototyping. With locations in Memphis, Tenn. and Rossi, France, Sofamor Danek is the world leader in spinal and cranial medical technologies.“We often see one or two VIP surgeons per day,” says design engineer Richard Franks.“They come in with a problem to solve in the morning. They explain their need to an engineer, the engineer will model a solution on ProEngineer and then make a prototype. Often by the next morning we’ll have a prototype in their hands. Sometimes we even deliver the same day. Having the [Fortus] FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) machine in-house really makes it easy for us to design products.”
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Perfecting surgical skills with Tissue Matrix
“At Medtronic - Sofamor Danek, cutting-edge medical technology takes new shape, thanks in part to FDM rapid prototyping technology.”
Troy McDonald, Medtronic–Sofamor Danek
Ratchet prototype made from tough polycarbonate usingthe FDM process.

The financial advantages of including FDM technology in the prototype lab are evident to McDonald. “Now we can refine our designs more before we start cutting metal, which is where the dollars start going up exponentially. He sees savings mount as more prototypes are made inhouse. “We have several divisions and each one has its own dedicated engineering staff that comes to our RP lab with modeling requests. Except for display items, almost everything that comes off the FDM machine is for functional evaluation.

 

That saves the company a lot of money. The cost of sending out work versus doing it in-house is easy to capture and we can justify owning the [Fortus]FDM system via reducing that cost alone. But the intangibles like timing issues, communication, and the value-added services are where we see the greatest benefits.

“At Medtronic - Sofamor Danek, cutting-edge medical technology takes new shape, thanks in part to FDM prototyping technology,” says rapid prototyping designer, David Freeman. “Forward-looking companies seek forward-thinking partners.”

Ratchet prototype made from tough polycarbonate usingthe FDM process.

The financial advantages of including FDM technology in the prototype lab are evident to McDonald. “Now we can refine our designs more before we start cutting metal, which is where the dollars start going up exponentially. He sees savings mount as more prototypes are made inhouse. “We have several divisions and each one has its own dedicated engineering staff that comes to our RP lab with modeling requests. Except for display items, almost everything that comes off the FDM machine is for functional evaluation.

 

That saves the company a lot of money. The cost of sending out work versus doing it in-house is easy to capture and we can justify owning the [Fortus]FDM system via reducing that cost alone. But the intangibles like timing issues, communication, and the value-added services are where we see the greatest benefits.

“At Medtronic - Sofamor Danek, cutting-edge medical technology takes new shape, thanks in part to FDM prototyping technology,” says rapid prototyping designer, David Freeman. “Forward-looking companies seek forward-thinking partners.”

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