The Kanagawa Rehabilitation Center (神奈川県総合リハビリテーションセンター) was established in 1973 in Atsugi City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The center is dedicated to supporting the medical and rehabilitation efforts of the Prefectural hospitals, with a team that has helped more than 90,000 patients return to normal life with professional rehabilitation equipment and appliances. Since 2015, occupational therapists and rehabilitation engineers have established a system called “Kariha Shiki 3D Printing System (Pretty 3D Printing System)”. Kanagawa Rehabilitation Center uses the Pro2 dual extruder 3D printers from Raise3D to be capable of independently producing rehabilitation tools, serving as a pioneer in the use of professional 3D printers in medical institutions.
How the Pro2 Dual Extruder 3D Printer Facilitates In-house Medical 3D Printing
By coupling the Pro2 Series from Raise3D with a high-precision 3D scanner, Kanagawa Rehabilitation Center can carry out in-house production of varying quantities of highly personalized rehabilitation aide. They established a “diagnosis-manufacture-use” system called the Pretty 3D printing system which includes the entire application process from patient diagnosis to data scanning, auxiliary tool 3D printing and patient trials.
The Challenges Brought by Traditional Manufacturing Methods
Patients with physical disabilities or patients who require postoperative rehabilitation need “self-help tools” or “welfare equipment” that enable them to perform their normal physical functions. The Kanagawa team attempted to address those needs by crafting the equipment by hand and by outsourcing to third parties. However, the team encountered several challenges with these methods:
- Hand-made self-help tools deteriorate over time, exhibiting short lifespans
- Self-help tools are highly individualized with have a reduced chance of being repeatable, i.e., a “one-size-fits-all” solution that can be serially manufactured is unfeasible
- Aluminum or wood carving is a complex process that even cannot be done by even the most experienced therapists
- The production cycle using a conventional method is very long
- Infants and people with limited mobility have either a reduced tendency or inability to cooperate
3D Printing Brings New Forms of Manufacturing
Mr. Matsuda, a rehabilitation engineer, has understood since 2015 that 3D printers offer a higher degree of freedom to design shapes.
“If we have our own 3D printer, we will be able to accomplish a new form of manufacturing”. – Mr. Matsuda.
The center purchased two 3D printers and began to design and 3D print self-service tools by themselves. Figure 3 is the auxiliary tool they developed with a 3D printer, which won the “Highest Award in the Equipment Development Category in 2016”. This award is presented by the Rehabilitation Engineering Society of JAPAN（日本リハビリテーション工学協会）.
The Benefit of 3D Printing with Raise3D
With the center experiencing an increase in the number of patients requiring rehabilitation, came the need for a professional 3D printer capable of producing a print accurately and quickly. However, the accuracy and stability of the two original 3D printers purchased by Kanagawa could not meet these demands.
The team learned about Raise3D and purchased the Raise3D Pro2 printer, which has high accuracy and stability. The following are the decisive factors for the team’s purchase.
- High Forming Precision
Mr. Matsuda recognized the high durability and printing accuracy of the Pro2 dual extruder 3D printer:
“The first is the accuracy of the models. I have made use of it for about two years and it has never failed. In addition, the software and the printer have high precision, so it is easy to remove support structures”. – Mr. Matsuda.
The delicate surface printed by Pro2 is ideal for tools that must conform to the patient’s body and be inclined or rounded.
- Personalized Client Projects
Raise 3D’s products meet the team’s highly flexible and personalized auxiliary tool production needs. The team can take more detailed scans of the patient’s parts and print individual 3D parts on a 3D printer.
The printing size of the Pro2 3D printer is 305 x 305 x 300mm, which is not only suitable for the production of large assistive devices, such as prosthetics, but also for the mass production of smaller commonly used assistive devices.
“As originally expected, it has become easier to recreate highly personalized items, and technical differences between creators have been eliminated. In addition, by shortening the time directly involved in creation, you can focus on your original works.” – Ms. Ichiki
Custom 3D printed assistive devices provide a greater degree of individuality for young patients. “Some parts that were previously made by machining wood or metal can also be made with a 3D printer. I did it for kids who wanted to get back to cheering and dancing.” – Ms. Ichiki
- Raise 3D’s Customer First Concept
Raise 3D ‘s Japanese reseller, Japan 3Dprinter (日本3Dプリンター株式会社) has always been adhering to the concept of customer first. It provides a complete set of solutions from initial import to the machine’s installation.
Japan 3Dprinter provides a 6-step package plan and will first investigate the customer’s application requirements. They prepared print samples, benchmark comparisons and try out services, in this case for the team at the Kanagawa Rehabilitation Center. When asked by Mr. Matsuda, Japan 3D Printer said, “If you send us the existing data, we will make a trial mold”. Raise3D quickly provided the inquiry, and the sample was produced very quickly.
When choosing a 3D printer, Mr. Matsuda was not sure which dual-nozzle printer was better, so Raise3D used a different printer to make samples and explained the difference to them. “Their engineers have been very caring, and Raise3D has been extremely professional in terms of filament selection, providing us with useful and up-to-date information, such as antimicrobial filaments.”
They were surprised to find that the samples of the self-help tools (the structure is quite complex) were really quite beautiful.
“Previous printers couldn’t achieve the level of detail very well, but Raise 3D ‘s samples are beautifully crafted and sufficiently strong”. – Mr. Matsuda.
Mr. Matsuda. believes that Raise 3D ‘s printer can solve the problems he has been dissatisfied with, such as usability.
Increasing Medical 3D Printing Expectations with Raise3D
- Faster speed and large size
Rehabilitation engineer, Ms. Ichiki, expressed her expectations for the application of 3D printing. In the future, there will be more and more cases of large-scale modeling, such as prosthetics. The key is to make the 3D printer bigger and faster.
Raise3D currently offers a high-speed upgrade of the Pro3/Pro2 series, called Hyper FFF™, and more printers with Hyper FFF™ technology are also in preparation. In large-scale applications, the Raise3D Pro3 Plus and the RMF500 perform well.
- Simplify Data Conversion
Ms. Ichiki wanted software that could be simplify the process of data conversion and parameter adjustment. Raise3D’s 3D printing software, ideaMaker and its cloud management software, RaiseCloud, provide users with powerful functions such as simple slicing, data transmission and remote management.
- Mining Internal Production Needs in The Medical Field
Mr. Matsuda, is very optimistic about the future prospects of 3D printing within the 3D medical industry. From assistive tools to prosthetics, 3D printing will be used more widely in the medical field. Mr. Matsuda hopes that Raise 3D can respond to more production needs medical professionals and provide non-professionals with more possibilities to simplify operations.
I believe that users will have more and more demands for internal production with 3D printing in the future.”-Mr. Matsuda.
In the future, Raise3D will explore the deep needs of the medical industry and provide users with models and materials that are more suitable for the production of medical aids.
Original website: Medicalの新たなものづくりのカタチを目见し, Self-help tools and welfare machines の Internalization をPromotion | Japan 3D Printer Co., Ltd. (3dprinter.co.jp)
YouTube video: (25) [3D solution introduction example] Kanagawa general rehabilitation center 3D printer / 3D scanner solution – YouTube
This case is shared by Japan 3DPrinter ( https://raise3d.jp/ ), which is Raise3D’s distributor in Japan.