Innovative medical implant made by Additive Manufacturing, 5-axis milling and wire EDM

September 19, 2012

An innovative start-to-finish process for manufacturing titanium tibial trays for surgical knee implants was unveiled on the stand of machine tool firm GF AgieCharmilles, at this year’s IMTS exhibition in Chicago, USA, 10th to 15th September 2012.


A titanium tibial tray for a surgical knee implant

produced by additive manufacture, 5-axis milling

and wire EDM

The company is co-operating with additive manufacturing machine builder, EOS, in this venture. The process starts with an FEA/CAD design, developed using WITHIN medical software, of a lightweight yet strong tibial tray. The part’s complex geometry combines variable pore sizes on one side to promote osseointegration with a smooth surface on the other to support the loads on the tibia.

An EOSINT M 280 direct metal laser-sintering system automatically builds the component from titanium powder, layer by layer, to produce a near-net-shape piece. It then undergoes conventional machining, first on a Mikron HPM 450U 5-axis mill and then on a CUT 20P wire EDM machine, both from GF AgieCharmilles.

“This blend of technologies goes far beyond what most other product developers are presently doing,” stated Gisbert Ledvon, Director of Business Development at GF AgieCharmilles in the US. “The result is a cutting-edge turnkey manufacturing system that operates with very little human intervention and a minimum of scrap material.”

Andrew Snow, Regional Sales Director, EOS of North America, commented, “While the demonstration at IMTS was of a medical component, this type of process chain is applicable to practically any industry.

Dr Siavash Mahdavi, CEO of WITHIN, added, “As a manufacturing process, laser-sintering affords designers so much freedom that it is sometimes difficult to know where to begin. Our software and the partnership between EOS and GF AgieCharmilles point the way to others who wish to explore the benefits that design-driven, additive manufacturing can bring.” 

Posted by: Paul Whittaker, Editor, [email protected]   

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