First additively manufactured connected stethoscope for tele-medicine unveiled
Nexa3D, maker of ultrafast polymer 3D printers, has partnered with functional polymers leader Henkel to produce what it hails as “the world’s first additively manufactured connected SKOP stethoscope” for WeMed.
Based on biomimicry design and produced on the NXE400 ultrafast 3D printer, using performance matched Henkel materials, the WeMed SKOP is the world’s first connected stethoscope to be additively manufactured in its entirety at scale, with production volumes to exceed 100,000 units per annum.
Born during the COVID-19 health crisis, French start-up WeMed saw an opportunity to quickly respond to accelerating demand for new diagnostic medical devices that support teleconsulting and remote monitoring. Nexa3D and Henkel came together with French contract manufacturing provider Third to help WeMed develop, manufacture and launch its new product.
The SKOP is a medical device for remote auscultation - ie, enables physicians to listen remotely to patients. It provides excellent listening quality, essential for emergency situations and for isolated patients. SKOP takes inspiration from nature, using a biomimetic design based on the human ear to maximise performance. The SKOP geometry can only be additively manufactured using ultrafast 3D printing.
“We developed the SKOP in response to a global call for democratised, affordable tele-consulting healthcare solutions,” says Cyrille Lecorq, co-founder and CEO of WeMed. “From the get-go, it was obvious to us that our biomimicry design could only be manufactured using 3D printing. Together with our additive manufacturing expert partner Third, we selected Nexa3D’s ultrafast 3D printers with Henkel’s customised materials as the best production solution to meet our productivity, reproducibility, precision and cost requirements, so that we can quickly deliver hundreds of thousands of SKOPs to waiting customers around the world.”
“This project highlights the inherent advantages of our ultrafast additive manufacturing capabilities,” explains Kevin McAlea, COO of Nexa3D. “The ability to perform rapid design iterations and design-based materials performance and colour optimisation, without any traditional manufacturing design constraints, was essential to bringing this game-changing product to market quickly.
“Our printers were selected not only for the ability to produce high quality parts, but for the speed and significant economic advantage they provide,” he adds. “Nexa3D’s 20x productivity advantage means our customers can manufacture products at unmatched speed, helping businesses like WeMed make a real difference. Nexa3D is excited to partner with other businesses with innovative design ideas, who could benefit from a new additive manufacturing process.”
Combined capabilities and close cooperation
Comments Simon Mawson, senior vice president, and global head of 3D printing at Henkel: “Leveraging our expanding product development and go-to-market partnership, we quickly developed a series of manufacturing-optimised, customised colour and performance-matched materials for the SKOP in 30 days. Our combined capabilities and close cooperation between Nexa3D and Henkel are open to all product companies, and we invite them to work with us through every phase of their project, from design, decision, support and optimisation to full-scale additive manufacturing operations, including material formulation customisation, colour matching and a variety of finishing options.”
Thanks to the speed and flexibility of the custom manufacturing solution developed jointly by Nexa3D and Henkel for WeMed, it is further reported, the device has already been tested and embraced as a device of choice by cardiologists, pulmonologists, general practitioners, emergency physicians and nurses. The SKOP is currently being marketed and annual production volumes are expected to exceed 100,000. With Nexa3D's NXE400, contract manufacturer Third can produce production volumes with a 5X smaller fleet of printers, making its manufacturing more efficient and cost-effective.
Nexa3D recently showcased SKOP at RAPID + TCT 2021, Chicago.