The global market for 3D printed medical devices is expected to grow by $2.3 billion in the next four years, says a global technology research company. While 3D printed medical devices encompass a variety of devices, it was orthopedic and spinal 3D printing that took the largest slice of the revenue “pie” in 2020. With many orthopedic giants headquartered in Warsaw, 3D printing is driving investment in the Orthopedic Capital of the World. Kosciusko County-based contract manufacturer Paragon Medical is investing up to $35 million to expand its 3D printing operation. The addition means every step of the process—from powder to final product—will take place on its Pierceton campus.
“We’re always trying to stay ahead of the technology curve, and this is one of the areas in [orthopedics] that’s really starting to gain some momentum,” says Paragon Medical Pierceton campus Vice President and General Manager Dan Blum. “As this technology continues to grow, we want to ensure we’re at the forefront and able to drive innovation…within our manufacturing umbrella to lead the market in it.”
Paragon’s clients include orthopedic heavyweights Zimmer Biomet, DePuy Orthopaedics and Stryker. Blum says 3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, opens the door to producing complex, hard-to-machine geometries and meeting clients’ custom specifications.
As opposed to traditional subtractive manufacturing in which raw material is cut away to create the implant, additive manufacturing builds the implant from the ground up. Starting with powder, a high-powered laser or electron beam melts titanium powder and builds the implant layer by layer, guided by a computerized design.
Paragon will continue its traditional manufacturing operations, while the new additive manufacturing center will focus exclusively on 3D printing. The company will invest $16 million initially, and plans call for an additional $19 million investment over the next five years. The 34,000-square-foot addition is expected to be operational by the end of 2022.