Veterinary orthopaedic specialist uses Link3D to source service bureau for Additive Manufacturing of animal implants

January 17, 2018

Veterinary orthopaedic specialist uses Link3D to source service bureau for 3D printing of animal implants

One example of Osteogen’s metal additively manufactured canine implants (Courtesy Osteogen)


Veterinary orthopaedic company Osteogen, Bath, UK, has partnered with French service bureau 3D Medical to produce its metal additively manufactured implants for animals. Osteogen was introduced to 3D Medical via Link3D’s On Demand™, a secure platform which enables its users to search and connect with a global network of Additive Manufacturing solutions providers.

Osteogen develops articular implants of various sizes for different breeds of dog. Paul Smirthwaite, Osteogen’s CEO, has worked in the orthopaedic industry for twenty years and reports that he has recently implemented additively manufactured implants into his practice, including AM humeral trials and ulnar drill guides.

In a report by Link3D, Smirthwaite explained the ethical difficulties which veterinary implant providers can encounter when looking to adopt new technologies for animal implants. “There are zero requirements in the orthopaedic industry for a vet practice … no one asks to see certifications and the FDA doesn’t check implants for animals in general.”

However, as a provider of implants for pets, Osteogen has a responsibility to produce implants to the highest safety standards. When identifying a third party manufacturer for the Additive Manufacturing of new implants, Smirthwaite stated, “it’s crucial for us to find 3D printing suppliers who produce products 100% up to medical standards.”

One of the key obstacles Osteogen faced in this regard was its lack of geographical accessibility to suitable service bureaus. “Even though I know British outlets very well, I am not as familiar about companies and AM offerings outside of the UK.”

Smirthwaite was introduced to Link3D via a contact from Within Technologies (now an Autodesk company). Because Link3D On Demand allows its users to search its network of AM service providers using advanced parameters – including where specific medical-grade certifications are required – Osteogen was able to quickly identify trustworthy, medically safe manufacturers.

Having chosen 3D Medical as the most suitable provider for  its needs, Smirthwaite stated, “3D Medical took the time to speak with my team and I directly to cover specifications and goals for our order.”

According to Osteogen, it is essential that doctors and service bureaus are able to communicate in order to produce ethical products that are free from mechanical miscalculations. By giving its users access to a global network of AM service bureaus in thirty-seven countries, with clearly defined specialities, Smirthwaite stated, “Link3D created an avenue for this dialogue to begin.”

Download the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Our latest issue is now available to view online or download in PDF format.

As well as an extensive AM industry news section, this 164-page issue includes articles and reports on:

  • Binder Jet metal Additive Manufacturing: Process chain considerations when moving towards series production
  • Simple and standardised X-ray CT testing in metal Additive Manufacturing
  • Formnext 2018: The global AM industry addresses ‘the bigger picture’ for true industrialisation
  • Formnext 2018: International forum reviews standards for Additive Manufacturing
  • Formnext 2018: How the growth of metal AM is driving changes to the metal powder landscape
  • How residual stress can cause major build failures, and what you can do to prevent it
  • Arcast: Applying advanced melting and atomisation expertise to the production of a new generation of metal powders
  • Additive Manufacturing in Aerospace: Highlights from the AMA 2018 international conference in Bremen
  • Euro PM2018: The influence of powder characteristics on processability in metal Additive Manufacturing
  • > More information

Latest news


    Sign up to our e-newsletter, sent weekly to AM professionals and end-users around the world. We'll also let you know each time a new issue of Metal AM magazine is available.

    Discover our magazine archive…

    The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:
    • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
    • Articles on technology and application trends
    • Information on materials developments
    • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
    • International industry news
    All past issues are available to download in PDF format, in either single page format or as double-page “spreads” for viewing on large monitors. All downloads are free of charge. Go to archive...

    Connect with us

    Visit our social media channels and sign up to our e-newsletter