Materialise Celebrates 20 Years & US Headquarters

PLYMOUTH, MI, Nov 9, 2010 – The Materialise team welcomed over 110 guests to their new U.S. headquarters in Plymouth, Michigan for their open house. Visitors were able to tour the state-of-the-art, additive manufacturing plant that’s meeting the needs of the orthopaedic implant industry.

Materialise is celebrating 20 years of “innovative product development resulting in a better and healthier world through its software and hardware infrastructure and in-depth knowledge of additive manufacturing”. In celebration of this special anniversary and to show-off their new U.S. headquarters, Materialise hosted an Open House. Participants ranged from experts in biomedical engineering to leaders of additive manufacturing service bureaus; politicians to local business owners. The visitors included a strong presence from numerous leaders of the automotive industry.

The day began with a networking lunch followed by presentations from the leaders of Materialise. The presentations covered the exciting and innovative ways that Materialise is expanding the use of additive manufacturing in numerous industries and bringing this cool technology to the consumer through their .MGX and i.materialise products. (,

In addition, participants were able to hear how Materialise software is being used to enhance work-flows in numerous areas ranging from biomedical to industrial applications. Srinivasan Varahoor, Principle Engineer for Medtronic presented ‘Model Development for Track-and-Deploy Tests using Mimics and 3-matic’. The presentation was exciting and the way Srinivasan Varahoor is using the software is truly revolutionary. Materialise hopes to work with him to host a webinar, so that others can benefit from his insights and methods.

After the presentations, everyone had a tour of the state-of-the-art, additive manufacturing facility that is producing customized surgical guides for hundreds of patients per month. Additive manufacturing provides the ideal platform for creating surgical tools and guides that are customized for patient specific anatomy. The company is excited that the SurgiCase Orthopaedics team at Materialise can now provide a complete solution to its partners for total knee replacement from their location in the United States.

The purpose of a surgical guide is to reduce the cost and complexity of a procedure and may result in: fewer surgical instruments to sterilize, decreased OR time, faster patient recover and increased longevity of the implant. In addition, the surgeon is able to try different approaches before operating and can avoid having to make critical decisions on the spot. The process of creating guides includes several steps:

  1. A patient’s leg is scanned (MRI/CT) and the data is uploaded to an online case management system
  2. A 3D digital model and a surgical plan is generated for that patient
  3. Surgeon fine-tunes and approves the surgical plan
  4. Patient specific guides are designed per surgical plan, manufactured and sent to the surgeon
  5. Surgeon uses the guides to transfer the surgical plan to the surgery

The guides are manufactured by selective laser sintering stations. The production process is planned, controlled and tracked by Materialise’s Magics e-RP software. Magics e-RP automates the complete rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing process from order and data preparation, through platform scheduling and machine monitoring, to production planning and part tracking. It provides a complete overview of all operations and ensures process traceability which is critical for medical production.

The big day ended with a reception and mingling. It was a great day for Materialise, their customers, and local business partners. The Materialise USA team is excited about their expansion and looking forward to the future as their team will grow to over 110 employees by 2017 and their facility from 30,000 to 50,000 sq.ft.

About Materialise

With its headquarters in Leuven, Belgium and branches all over the world, the Materialise Group is best known for its activities in the field of rapid industrial and medical prototyping. Apart from having the largest capacity of rapid prototyping equipment in Europe, Materialise enjoys a worldwide reputation as provider of innovative software solutions. As such, Materialise has acquired the position of market leader for 3D printing, digital CAD software and medical and dental image processing and surgery simulation. Its medical and dental products are used worldwide by renowned hospitals, research institutes and clinicians. The group has several subsidiaries in Europe, Asia and the USA, and employs over 800 people in its 4 divisions.

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Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President of Ortho Sales Partners and Partner for The De Angelis Group. He also serves as Co-Founder and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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