Atherosclerosis, the accumulation of plaque on the interior lining of our arteries, is a common form of heart disease that Cardiovascular Systems Inc. (CSI360) is developing solutions to conquer.
Their OAS (Orbital Atherectomy System) safely reduces arterial calcium with sanding and centrifugal force, enabling safe and effective stent deployment. However, the OAS is very complicated with more than 30 actively moving part, which makes the prototyping long and expensive using traditional methods, in this case being CNC machining.
This limited the iterations they could make because of their schedule and budget. It also caused them to abandon far-fetched ideas because of the cost it would take to prototype them. “In developing products, the schedule and budget limited us to about three prototype iterations,” said Nick Rydberg, mechanical engineering manager for CSI. “We often had to abandon far-fetched ideas because it would have been too expensive to build a prototype to test them. Moving 3D printing in-house made it possible for us to evaluate more design alternatives than in previous generations, resulting in a product that makes a substantial leap in performance over its predecessors.”
Since their move to in-house 3D printing, they have sped up their prototyping by 71% and cut their costs by 88%. On top of their design quality improving, they also started printing anatomical models for testing and training their mechanisms. This allows engineers to simulate how a device will perform in a particular case. 3D printing has completely changed how their medical devices are designed and will only continue to benefit physicians better treat their patients: “With our FDM and PolyJet 3D printers, we can build a new prototype in only two days at a cost of about $500,” Rydberg said. “Our engineers are able to manage everything themselves, including maintenance, material and jobs, eliminating the need for an additional resource.”