May 25, 2011

At RAPID 2011, Sensable Showcases Exceptional Medical and Other Products Created Using Freeform® 3D Organic Design System

Speeds Design, Model Analysis and Prep for Prototyping & Rapid Manufacturing; Unparalleled for Complex Shapes of Patient-Specific Implants and More.

Sensable announced that medical implants, prostheses, medical models, and other complex, organically shaped products created by its customers using Sensable’s Freeform® 3D design for manufacture system will feature prominently this week at the 2011 RAPID Show, opening today in Minneapolis. These include a soft-tissue nasal prosthesis for a cancer patient from CARTIS, whose finely sculpted curves, gentle feathering of the edges of the silicone prosthesis at the maximum thinness of 0.04 millimeters, typifies the exceptional results now possible with today’s all digital workflows that are benefitting patients worldwide. Other Freeform-designed projects at RAPID include lifelike anatomical models for patient education from GPI Anatomicals, and lifesaving medical implants discussed during the plenary sessions – as well as jewelry and collectibles.

Freeform’s touch-enabled 3D modeling allows these organizations to finally realize the time and cost efficiencies of digitally-driven product design and manufacturing processes for organically-shaped products, custom and short-run production as well as high-volume manufacturing. The newest Freeform software being demonstrated at RAPID allows designers with hard-to-design and manufacture items such as patient-specific implants, footwear, toys, collectibles, jewelry, coins and other highly sculptural products, to drastically shorten the design and review process and get designs to prototyping and manufacturing far more efficiently. In addition, the software includes advanced tools that enable designers to analyze and prep their models to ensure cost-effective downstream processes – whether it’s prototyping, additive manufacturing or tooling.

"Freeform allows us to design and mould prosthetics that offer a superb fit and natural appearance," said Dominic Eggbeer, Ph.D, research officer & head of medical applications at CARTIS, the Centre for Applied Reconstructive Technologies in Surgery in Wales. "In addition, Freeform's digital workflow gives us a more flexible working environment – enabling us to reduce the number of patient visits and the overall time required to fit prosthetics."

“We have produced duplicates of our nasal prostheses in parallel using conventional and digital methods and, and had them rated by people who were unaware of the production methods used – and the digital process was shown to be the most favourable. Freeform offers the tools and flexibility to enable this.”

In other markets where maintaining design intent is just as critical, Freeform’s creative freedom makes it the tool of choice for product designers at such organizations as Mattel/Fisher-Price, Playmobil, MEGA Brands, Stanley Black & Decker, Gillette, Clarks, Hallmark and the United States Mint.

"When movie makers license their characters for use on children's products, they expect them to meet exacting specifications – facial expressions, hairstyles, detailed clothing and accessories, even specific colors – that make them instantly recognizable; and without any design sacrifices needed to meet high-volume manufacturing requirements. We just couldn't do all that efficiently and effectively without Freeform," said Dave Carpenter, studio director at Zak Designs, maker of dinnerware for kids of all ages.

Freeform Enables:

Faster prepping of models for rapid manufacturing and tooling, whether for 3D printing in polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) mold making, core creation, or die creation for stamping.
Enhanced Analysis Tools. Analyze Fit displays color layers that make it easy for users to assess and adjust how closely two pieces of a model fit together – especially helpful when creating patient-specific implants. Also using color mapping, the new Analyze Thickness tool helps designers minimize excess material costs, design for part strength and accommodate injection molding requirements relating to material flow and cooling.
Efficient Family Mold Design. Freeform users can easily position low-resolution copies of the model pieces to quickly decide the most efficient layout for the family mold. Upon import of the layout positioning into the high resolution model, all pieces automatically move to those positions – a significant time-saver.
Fast Creation of Transitional Mold Parting Surfaces. The new Ring Patch tool quickly creates transitional surfaces from a perimeter parting line to the main parting surface of a mold, saving hours of design time.
New and improved workflows
Faster work with complex solid models such as in medical applications. Users can quickly define volumetric shapes with a simple curve network, and then with one click, create a solid model – a workflow that is extremely well-suited to creating patient-specific implants with speed and accuracy.
Fast vacuum-formed packaging for complex organic shapes. A new Fill to Plane model prep tool dramatically simplifies the creation of the core – the positive of the model – for the main tooling used in the creation of vacuum-formed packaging.
Streamlined concept design and modeling
Innovative Incorporation of Detail into Solid Models. New parasolid editing features enable seamless transference of detail onto a solid model from virtual clay. With the new “sculpt and refit” process, Freeform now eliminates any need for surfacing, cutting, trimming, or stitching of the original solid-based model.
More sophisticated, complex deformations. A new Lattice Deform tool provides an interactive way to target and restrict deformations to very specific areas of the model – or allow multiple pieces to be deformed as a single unit.