Healthcare

Partly is a company established in a collaboration between Ivaldi Group and GreEnergy, and it is located on the west coast of Norway to serve the local health sector with additively manufactured products.

The healthcare sector has many use cases for additive manufacturing (AM), ranging from pre-op support for surgents to patient specific implants as well as maintenance repair and operations of hospitals and buildings. The medical industry is already one of the largest users of the technology. With the customization that AM and on-demand manufacturing presents, it is a perfect fit for patient specific products.

Quality of Life

As a pilot project Partly has worked with Helse Førde to deliver patient adapted orthoses that are made in a flexible material that increases the comfort of the patient and are discreet in appearance. The feedback from patients so far is that the new 3D-printed finger orthoses are comfortable, even making tasks that the patients enjoy, like knitting, possible again. A comfortable and aesthetically pleasing orthoses increases the chances of the patient wearing it more, which in turn can improve quality of life and recovery. 

Operational efficiency and sustainability

Another service Partly is piloting is spare parts for maintenance, repair and operational efficiency in hospital and building management. Simple spare parts like bed stoppers can help ensure that beds are not left idle due to minor deficiencies, a critical problem for the health care sector. The bed stopper example illustrates how low cost, generic parts can extend the efficiency of healthcare infrastructure by making it available and accessible, and how additive manufacturing impacts the sustainability of the equipment aftermarket through reducing waste and extending equipment life cycles.

Emergency preparedness and response

Being able to specifically manufacture equipment for the healthcare industry has become even more relevant with the current pandemic. As the pandemic hit in March 2019, Ivaldi Group started getting pleas from local clinics and other health institutions needing personal protective equipment. This was a particularly difficult task because face shield supplies everywhere were critically low. Having primarily worked in heavy industry, safety requirements and standards for these particular products had to be explored quickly. Working with an impromptu online community of tens of thousands of nurses, doctors, engineers, and enthusiasts to identify reliable designs, Ivaldi had 3D-printed a prototype within two hours of the first request and was in production within 24 hours, starting deliveries to clinics the next day all while socially isolating.

The face shield example illustrates, again, how additive manufacturing can be leveraged to step up to local challenges and needs, and how one of the huge benefits is reduction in lead time from the need is identified to the product is in the hands of the user.

It is Partly’s ambition to contribute to a more efficient and sustainable supply chain for the healthcare sector, by the use of on-demand manufacturing of parts, be it orthoses, bed stoppers, face shields or other.

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