CASE STUDIES

How Shukla Medical Saved $10K per month on Surgical Instrument Prototypes using Markforged’s 3D Printing Solutions

carbon fiber 3D printer

About Shukla Medical

Shukla Medical – a wholly-owned subsidiary of aerospace manufacturer S.S. White Technologies designs and manufactures universal orthopedic implant removal tools such as Xtract-All® that are used by surgeons worldwide to take out old implants and replace them with the new ones while keeping the patient’s bone intact.

carbon fiber 3D printer
Above: Xtract-All® Spine Universal Spinal Implant Removal System/Image Credit: Markforged

The Problem

Most orthopedic implant removal tools are highly complicated and take a significant amount of time to operate. This largely increases the operating room costs that range anywhere from $35 to more than $100. As a result, any time saved in the procedure can be really helpful for patients.

Shukla’s tools need to be quickly prototyped and tested by orthopedic implant surgeons to check for form and fit before the final product is fabricated. The team initially prototyped the parts using their CNC machine or sent the designs out to a third party, but found that long lead times were presenting major slowdowns in iterating on prototypes and preventing them from quickly getting their product to market.

The challenge for Shukla Medical was now to develop instruments that were simple, had an intuitive design and came with time-saving features.

The Solution

To overcome the problems that came due to using CNC machine, Shukla Medical purchased a Markforged 3D printer capable of printing in continuous carbon fiber in 2017. The company started using the 3D printer to prototype their tools instead of their CNC machine.

However, the team of experts at Shukla Medical wanted more or metal prototypes which will make it easier for surgeons to imagine using the tool. After a great experience with the Markforged’s carbon fiber 3D printer, the team at Shukla Medical purchased Markforged’s Metal X 3D printer.

3D printer
Above: Markforged Metal X/Image Credit: Markforged

Using 17-4 PH Stainless Steel, Shukla Medical was able to prototype in the same material as many of the final products. They now utilize their carbon fiber 3D printer for initial prototypes, and then the Metal X system for the final prototype that goes into the hands of surgeons for evaluation.

carbon fiber 3D printer
Above: Shukla Medical prototyped the parts using 3D printed 17-4 PH Stainless Steel/Image Credit: Markforged

The Result

Shukla Medical’s products are now engineered for orthopedic surgeons, with time-saving features like quick-connections and multiple extraction options. By using Markforged’s Metal X system to create surgical instrument prototypes for surgeons to test before production, Shukla Medical was able to save $10,000 per month and was able to achieve the Return on Investment (RoI) in just less than one year.

carbon fiber 3D printer
Helicopter sockets — which allow total screw construct removal — were first prototyped to allow orthopedic surgeons to test form and fit of the entire surgical too/Image Credit: Markforged

Moving Ahead

By leveraging the carbon fiber 3D printer and Metal X system, Shukla Medical has significantly reduced its product commercialization time. In fact, engineers at S.S. White Technologies — of which Shukla Medical is a subsidiary — often utilise the Markforged printers for tooling and fixtures for the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries.

Source: Markforged


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