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Stryker and GE Partner to Accelerate Additive Manufacturing Initiative

GE Additive and Stryker established an agreement to support Stryker’s growth in additive manufacturing, covering new machines, materials and services for use by Stryker’s global supply chain.

GE Additive includes machine providers Concept Laser and ArcamEBM, along with material provider AP&C and service provider DTI, located in Germany, Sweden, Canada and the U.S., respectively

Stryker has been involved in 3D printing since 2001; its history includes investments in Concept Laser and Arcam systems, and collaborations with universities in Ireland and the U.K. to employ the technology for the healthcare industry. In January 2016, Stryker announced that it had opened its own additive manufacturing hub in Ireland and was filling it with machines, with a primary focus on spine and joint reconstruction products. The company was already 3D-printing knee components (revision cones, for instance, as well as a tibial base plate and a patella) and launched Tritanium PL, a highly-porous posterior lumbar cage, in 1H16. The Global hip cup is to be 3D printed, as well.

Strong demand for 3D-printed products is a consistently-cited growth driver for Stryker, and in early 2017, leadership affirmed that a number of new 3D-printed products are slated for launch this year. “We have tremendous demand and interest from basically all of our implant businesses for 3D printed products,” remarked Kevin Lobo, Stryker’s CEO, in the 1Q17 call. “At this point, all the products that we’re launching are adding innovation, removing bone cement, creating new geometries that didn’t exist previously. We have a pretty healthy pipeline of demands, and we’re scaling it as fast as we possibly can to meet the demand.”

“Working with GE Additive and leveraging their expertise is a very compelling proposition for Stryker,” said John Haller, Vice President of Global Supply at Stryker, commenting on the GE/Stryker partnership. “We believe this collaboration will accelerate our additive manufacturing journey and support our mission to make healthcare better.”

GE Additive was established in 2016. In addition to the company's $1.4 billion investment in Concept Laser and Arcam, it has invested $1.5 billion in manufacturing and additive technologies over the past ten years, created new service applications across the company and earned 346 patents in powder metals. Furthermore, its collaboration with GE Capital will help customers worldwide access flexible financing solutions to acquire metal additive machines.

Industry leaders like Tecomet CEO Mark Kemp point to the GE/Stryker collaboration as a signal that the technology has staying power for orthopaedics. “It’s getting a lot of traction in spine and certain extremities,” Kemp said of additive during the closing session at OMTEC 2017. “There is huge interest.”

Sources: GE Additive; ORTHOWORLD Inc.