Despite its share of pros and cons, the need for tele-medicine has been accelerated with the pandemic. As a matter of fact, over time, the pros have outweighed the cons and MedTech companies have decided to enhance this service by making available appropriate medical devices.
French start-up WeMed for instance, decided to enhance teleconsulting and remote monitoring by developing SKOP, a stethoscope for tele-medicine.
A medical device for remote auscultation.
The fabrication of this first of its kind medical device results from the collaboration between 3D printer manufacturer Nexa3D and materials producer Henkel. If you are a regular reader of 3D ADEPT Media, you certainly know, the match between these organizations’ expertise is not new. Remember how only recently, they develop a new photo-elastic material for polymer 3D printing?
Well for this collaboration on what is described as the “world’s first additively manufactured connected SKOP stethoscope”, the engineering team first performed a biomimicry design of the product before 3D printing the 3D model on the NXE400 ultrafast 3D printer.
The biomimicry design reveals SKOP takes inspiration from nature. It is based on the human ear to maximize performance. According to the engineering team, this geometry can only be additively manufactured using ultrafast 3D printing.
We know the fabrication required Henkel’s material expertise but the exact type of material that has been used for this fabrication has not been disclosed.
“We developed the SKOP in response to a global call for democratized, affordable tele-consulting healthcare solutions,” said Cyrille Lecroq 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 customized materials as the best production solution to meet our productivity, reproducibility, precision, and cost requirements, so that we can quickly and deliver hundreds of thousands of SKOPs to waiting customers around the world.”
Today, SKOP is described as a medical device for remote auscultation which provides excellent listening quality, essential for emergency situations and for isolated patients. Even though we would appreciate further information on the connectivity feature; at the moment, there is no doubt this innovative solution can provide valuable medical support and information, and can even help service less developed areas.
According to a press release, 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.
“Leveraging our expanding product development and go-to-market partnership, we quickly developed a series of manufacturing-optimized, customized colour and performance-matched materials for the SKOP in 30 days”, commented Simon Mawson, Senior Vice President, and global head of 3D printing at Henkel. “Our combined capabilities and close cooperation between Nexa3D and Henkel is open to all product companies and we invite them to work with us through every phase of their project from design, decision, support and optimization to full scale additive manufacturing operations including material formulation customization, colour matching and a variety of finishing options.”
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