Getting to the heart of the matter

April 16, 2018

Norman Noble selects GE Additive to explore metal 3D-printed stent production

Norman Noble has been at the cutting edge of the design and production of next generation of medical devices for over seventy years.   To maintain its position as the world’s largest contract manufacturer in the sector, the company continually invests in new technologies to provide its customers – some of the largest healthcare OEMs – with access to innovative solutions. With that strategy firmly in mind, it has just taken delivery of its first additive manufacturing machine – an Mlab cusing R from GE Additive’s Concept Laser division, at its plant in Highlands Heights, Ohio.

Additive Manufacturing is particularly well-suited to micro precision contract manufacturing and will enable implant designs to be produced with internal features and customized surface structures for many new medical products. 

Following the installation of the new machine, the team at Norman Noble plans to develop shape-set tooling for processing nitinol based rapid prototypes for a number of applications, and build on its existing implant manufacturing capabilities by exploring the potential of producing metal 3D-printed vascular stents and orthopedic implants. 
“Norman Noble will utilize this new 3D printing technology to support rapid prototyping capabilities for nitinol parts, and as a manufacturing solution for prototype-to-production of our customers’ next-gen vascular and orthopedic implant designs,” said Brian Hrouda, director global sales and marketing at Norman Noble. 
Additive manufactured parts often require complex geometries and internal features. Norman Noble uses a Computed Tomography system to perform 100% inspection of part dimensions and critical features.

“Norman Noble’s plans to use metal-based additive technologies to explore stent production are really exciting. Until now additive manufacturing applications in cardiology have been polymer models for preoperational training and visualization, so it will be interesting to see how things progress over the coming years,” said Stephan Zeidler, business development manager for the medical sector at Concept Laser.