Smithstown invests in a 3D printer to expand its range of medical devices – Med-Tech Innovation


Smithstown Light Engineering, based in Shannon, Ireland, has invested in a TRUMPF TruPrint 2000 3D printing system to further enhance its support to the country’s medical device industry.

The first machine of its kind in Ireland, the TruPrint 2000 is now busy producing prototypes and samples for a variety of customers in 17-4 and 316 stainless steel.

Smithstown employs 141 people at three locations, two in Ireland and one in Poland, focusing on providing precision medical devices and orthopedic instrument / implant solutions, typically for hip and knee replacement procedures and cardiovascular delivery devices.

Already offering manufacturing capabilities including milling, turning, grinding and spark erosion, Smithstown wanted to add 3D printing to its repertoire and set out to create an additives center in a 30,000 foot building. recently built.2 extension.

Gerard King, Managing Director, said: “We worked for two years with IMR [Irish Manufacturing Research], a technology and research organization, to experiment with 3D printing and get a feel for what it could do in terms of capabilities, limitations, advantages and disadvantages.

The aim was to provide an additional support role to Smithstown’s medical device customers, particularly with respect to R&D work.

Kevin Kelly, Manufacturing Engineer, said: “We looked at a lot of potential machines, before designing our own benchmark and sending it to vendors of interest. It was the quality of the benchmark produced by TRUMPF, using their TruPrint 2000, that caught our attention. In addition, the volume of the machine was perfect for our needs and the price was competitive. “

Installed in late 2020, Smithstown uses its new TruPrint 2000 to produce printed parts from metal. The company’s new additives center also houses a polymer component printing machine.

Kelly continued, “Additive is ideal for medical work because of the complex geometries involved. Without 3D printing, several processes would be required, taking many hours. Additive also offers the possibility of individual customization, which has obvious advantages for products such as implants. “

Since its installation, the machine has been involved in producing prototypes and samples for customers of 17-4 and 316 stainless steel medical devices.

“In the medical industry, it can take years to move from design and testing to validated production, but we are now able to help speed that process up and bring customer ideas to life,” says Kelly. “As we reach the production phase of ongoing projects, we may well need multiple 3D printing systems in order to be able to dedicate machines to a single material. We will not hesitate to invest in more machines if the demand is there.

With its small laser beam of 55 µm in diameter, the TruPrint 2000 delivers a high-quality print result that impresses with its surface quality and level of detail. Two TRUMPF 300 W fiber lasers provide high productivity over the entire cylindrical construction volume 200 mm in diameter by 200 mm high.

Among the notable options that help ensure the highest quality standards is the monitoring of the weld pool. With this function, deviations in the laser metal melting process are detectable early via sensors and critical areas of the component can be visualized. Users can also monitor all solder pools in parallel.

Going forward, Smithstown’s business strategy is to focus more on high volume precision components, rather than just tools and parts in small batches.

Kelly said, “Some of our competitors have 3D printers, but the TruPrint 2000 definitely gives us an advantage. In addition, we have a dedicated team of experts who can design parts specifically to take advantage of the benefits of additive manufacturing, helping to minimize costs without compromising quality. Designing a part for the additive is quite different from designing a part for traditional machining. ”

Smithstown – which holds ISO9001 (quality), ISO13485 (medical devices) and ISO14001 (environment) certifications – recently secured several new projects. Along with investing in the latest manufacturing technologies, continuous growth is assured in the company.

King concludes: “We are really pleased with the quality and speed of manufacture of the TruPrint 2000, which is backed by good support from TRUMPF. They have always listened to our needs. problems whatsoever, which is impressive considering this is our first company in additive manufacturing. ” TRUMPF will be exhibiting its 3D printing systems at TCT3Sixty, September 28-30 NEC, Birmingham at booth F28.

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