Medical Parts Shop Machines 3D Printed Products

A visit to Akron-based Slice Mfg. Studios is a glimpse into the future of the medical manufacturing industry, with parts being produced through a combination of 3D printing and turning and milling. 

3D printing may be a disruptive technology, but even companies that specialize in this form of manufacturing often rely on machining. This is evident in Akron, Ohio-based shop Slice Mfg. Studios that uses additive technology to create medical device products, such as hip replacement components.

Although they are a one-stop product development and supply chain with an emphasis on Arcam EBMs, they are also a conventional machining contract manufacturer focused on custom and mass production of orthopedic and other medical metallic implants. These products must undergo turning or milling through the Tornos Swiss or Willemin-Macodel machining centers on site before completion.

Visiting the Slice headquarters, it’s evident what the company has done to set itself apart. First, it’s incredibly clean and sterile, more like a laboratory than a machine shop. This is due to the nature of their output, with mechanical testing, cleaning, anodizing and sterile packaging ensuring that the finished workpieces are fit for, amongst other things, being inside the human body.

And secondly, many of these processes are facilitated through robots. With a workforce currently comprised of only 14 people, plans for expansion are focused more on automation than bringing in new bodies.

Even with all these advancements, however, turning and milling are still vital components to the operations and will be for the foreseeable future.