Maryland has a unique combination of assets that position the state to lead the world in medical and dental additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, which is revolutionizing the medical and dental industries. The U.S. market for additive manufacturing is projected to grow to $26.5 billion by 2021. The greatest concentration of Maryland’s additive manufacturing assets is in Harford County.
Maryland’s General Assembly established the Regional Additive Manufacturing Partnership of Maryland (RAMP MD) in 2014 to create the relationships among leaders in industry, education, the military, and government, that will leverage these assets to make Maryland the world leader in biomedical additive manufacturing.
RAMP MD also helps incubate new companies and assists established companies in entering additive manufacturing. As part of its mission, RAMP MD held a symposium, “3D Medical Revolution,” on May 16, 2018, at STAR Academy in Baltimore, a STEM training facility.
“Maryland is perfectly positioned to take a major leadership role in 3D printing for medical applications. We have the top research universities, federal laboratories, and a concentration of expertise unrivaled in the world,” said Maryland Senator J.B. Jennings, one of the original co-sponsors of the legislation that founded RAMP MD and lead-off speaker at the Symposium.
Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is rapidly transforming the medical and dental industries with applications ranging from custom therapeutic devices, such as Invisalign, to prosthetic devices and anatomical replicas that allow doctors to simulate surgeries before performing them on patients. In contrast to subtractive manufacturing, in which material is cut away, additive manufacturing creates items through the accumulation of layers of material from a design recorded in a digital file.
Additive manufacturing and 3D printing technology also is employed for uses such as medical imaging, laboratory and field research, and risk assessment in a variety of industries and government agencies.
At RAMP MD’s May 16 symposium, leaders from government and industry spoke on a variety of topics related to aerospace and defense additive manufacturing:
- New applications of 3D printing in medical and dental fields
- History of additive manufacturing in related areas
- New technology and applications
- Trends and forecasts in additive manufacturing technology as it relates to medicine
- Use of additive manufacturing in lab research
- Augmented reality demonstrations
Presenters included Lauralyn McDaniel, SME Medical Additive/3D Printing Workgroup; Juan Garcia, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Dr. Jeffrey Hirsch, assistant professor in the Department of Radiology at the University of Maryland; Dr. Robert L. Kristovich, chief of Toxicology and Obscurants Division, RDECOM; James Coburn, co-chair of the FDA Additive Manufacturing Working Group; and many others from academia, government, and industry.
The unique combination of assets that are propelling Maryland into world leadership in medical and dental additive manufacturing include its thriving biotech industry, ECBC (the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biology Center), Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and military bases such as Aberdeen Proving Ground, which is home to an on-site business incubator for additive manufacturing, and Fort Detrick, where the nation’s premiere research into tissue manufacturing is managed.
Maryland’s educational and research assets include Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland (which is now offering a degree in additive manufacturing), the Community College of Baltimore County, three schools of medicine and a school of dentistry, and the National Institutes of Health.
Additive manufacturers in Maryland also have the advantage of easy access to the FDA for approval of their products, plus the ready means to distribute their products anywhere in the world thanks to Maryland’s port and access to interstate highways and rail systems.
“RAMP MD recognizes the incredible potential for Maryland is leveraging the capabilities of Harford County’s 3D printing assets and Maryland’s biomedical industries,” said Rick Decker, executive director of RAMP MD. “Nowhere else in the world comes close to matching the expertise and capabilities of Maryland in 3D medical.” RAMP MD chose this topic for its recent symposium to highlight these capabilities.
RAMP MD’s Symposium was underwritten by the Harford County Office of Community and Economic Development, Maryland’s Department of Commerce, TEDCO, and private firm D. Wheatley Enterprises. Sponsors also included Avon Protection, and Root 3 Labs.