Way back in 2005, LimaCorporate began thinking about using metal additive manufacturing for mass production of orthopedic implants. “It was a risky decision,” admitted Michele Pressacco, Vice President of research and development at LimaCorporate. “Financially, producing parts with 3D printing made no sense. But we were looking years ahead, and the only way to realize our vision was to go after it with everything we had. That’s the character of our company.” Since that time, LimaCorporate has succeeded in becoming a leading pioneer of cementless implants, and their use of Siemens Digital Industries Software has been a key part of that innovation.
One large trend in the orthopedic implant space has been the emergence of using additive manufactured lattice structures for osteointegration – the connection between the surface of an implant and the patient’s living bone. Traditionally, this integration was created with cement between the implant and the bone surface. “With cemented arthroplasty, the fixation of the implant to the bone is strongest at time zero, the day of implementation,” Pressacco explains. “Over the years, the quality of fixation decreases. With cementless arthroplasty using lattice-based metals, the weakest fixation is at time zero; then bone ingrowth strengthens over time.”
Since its introduction of the lattice-based Trabecular Titanium metal that supports osteointegration, LimaCorporate has produced over 150,000 acetabular cups for hip replacements. Recently, however, the company embarked on an ambitious initiative to develop cementless knee replacements. The knee is a much more complex system than the hip. Because of this, LimaCorporate needed more sophisticated AM design software.
See the story of how LimaCorporate is revolutionizing the orthopedic implant industry a second time with its new lattice-based tibial plate in the video below.