A vision for better prototyping

Written by: Stratasys GmbH | Published:

Nidek Technologies specialises in the development and prototyping of high-technology ophthalmological diagnostic systems. Nidek produces fully-functional prototypes that precisely replicate the final product. This enables a comprehensive evaluation of the fit, form and function of new devices before investing in expensive clinical trials and moving to final production.

Nidek Technologies turned to Stratasys 3D printing in a bid to optimise its prototyping process and, as a result, accelerate its clinical validation.

This was demonstrated in a recent project which saw Nidek Technologies produce a new automatic Gonioscope®, a device designed to observe the space between the iris and cornea. Typically, the R&D team would create the prototypes using traditional manufacturing with expensive injection molds or use CNC machines to create the individual device components. This led to escalating lead-times and, should iterations be required, substantially increased prototyping costs.

As a solution to overcome these barriers, Nidek invested ina Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 3D Printer. “Our prototyping process has become much more streamlined since incorporating Stratasys 3D printing into our workflow,” says Cesare Tanassi, CEO at Nidek. “The technology enables us to develop complex parts with intricate geometries on-demand. The ability to validate designs early in the product development cycle helps us eliminate costly iterations during manufacturing, as well as significantly reducing our time-to-market compared to traditional prototyping methods.”

According to Tanassi, waiting for production parts to conduct clinical evaluations creates costly delays. “Previously we were constrained by the time restrictions associated with traditional manufacturing. 3D printing overcomes these bottlenecks and permits us to quickly enter our devices into clinical trials. As you can imagine, fully verifying our products is crucial to ensuring that premium healthcare is maintained,” he explains. “The quality of the Stratasys 3D printed components saw the device pass a year-long clinical trial where eight global medical centres examined it.”

The versatility of Connex3 PolyJet materials gives Nidek Technologies the tools to quickly overcome multiple challenges throughout the product development process. From ideation, to iterating prototypes, to clinical evaluation, 3D printing drives innovation, improves product design, saves cost and reduces product development time.

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