GRAND RAPIDS — A $500,000 grant from the Grand Rapids SmartZone will fund a program to use 3-D printing technology to accelerate the development and production of medical device components.
Grand Valley State University, the Applied Medical Device Institute and contract device manufacturer MediSurge LLC will use the 3-D printing equipment from Redwood City, Calif.-based Carbon Inc. to create medical devices over two and a half years that are safe for implanting under the skin.
“This program is truly bridging the gap between academia and industry,” said Brent Nowak, founding executive director of aMDI, a non-academic unit of GVSU. “We are on the cusp of revolutionizing the medical device manufacturing industry, and that will not only grow and retain talent here in West Michigan, but will attract new talent from outside of the region.”
The Carbon 3-D printer technology was installed at aMDI’s incubator space at GVSU’s Cook DeVos Center for Health Sciences in downtown Grand Rapids.
The effort will enable GVSU, the AMDI and MediSurge to gain understanding for applying 3-D printing technology to the medical device industry to improve the product development process.
“The current process of launching a new medical device to market in the United States is strictly regulated, highly complex, and expensive, so we understand the importance of perfecting this type of emerging technology,” said Bob Taylor, the CEO of Alliant Healthcare Products and MediSurge. “Being able to offer this type of novel service would drastically decrease time to market for products and create immense value for customers.”
More than a dozen graduate and undergraduate students from the GVSU Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, plus faculty, will join the AMDI for the program.
GVSU is the first university in the Midwest to offer students direct access to 3-D printing technology on campus, Nowak said. The manufacturing technology that targets medical-grade materials also “will soon be the new standard, and this study will be a launch pad for course content that is used in curriculum throughout the university,” he said.