3D printing reduces cost, speeds time to market for blood recycling system

A blood recycling system prototype that uses a number of parts made with the Stratasys Dimension 1200es 3D printer has received the CE mark, enabling the finished device to be placed on the market in European Union member states and other countries that recognize the marking. Developed by Brightwake Ltd. (Nottingham, UK), Hemosep significantly reduces the need for blood transfusions. One of the first patients to benefit from the device was a 50-year-old UK heart patient, who, as a Jehovah’s Witness, requested not to receive donated blood products. Because the device captures, cleans, and puts back lost blood lost during an operation, Hemosep was the perfect solution for her, according to a press release distributed today by Stratasys.

The device's main filtration and cooling systems, among other parts, were fabricated by means of 3D printing, enabling functional testing of the system in its intended environment before the final device is produced from metal.

Hemosep blood recycling system

“The Hemosep consists of a bag that uses chemical sponge technology and a mechanical agitator to concentrate blood sucked from a surgical site or drained from a heart-lung machine after surgery,” says Steve Cotton, Brightwake’s Director of Research and Development. “The cells are then returned to the patient via blood transfusion. In a climate of blood shortage, this recycling methodology has the potential to be a game changer within the medical industry, saving the [UK] National Health Service millions.”

Brightwake: 3D printing is the future of medical device manufacturing

Hemosep probe
A 3D-printed saline probe, produced from ABS
Plus material, is used to pierce a saline bottle
and prime the Hemosep bag prior to use.

Successful clinical trials of more than 100 open-heart surgery operations in Turkey confirmed the Hemosep’s ability to significantly reduce the need for blood transfusions, and further trials are now continuing in the UK.

The use of 3D printing to produce extremely accurate parts, capable of enduring the stress of functional and safety tests, resulted in significant cost- and time-saving benefits, says Brightwake.

“Previously we had to outsource production of these parts, which took around three weeks per part,” explains Cotton. “Now we’re 3D printing superior strength parts overnight, cutting our prototyping costs by 96% and saving more than £1000 [$1670] for each 3D printed model."

Moreover, 3D printing was crucial in getting a functional device to clinical trials, adds Cotton. “The ability to 3D print parts that look, feel, and perform like the final product, on-the-fly, is the future of medical device manufacturing.”



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