Podcast session about Medical Grade 3D Printers and Materials with Martin Herzmann from Kumovis

Recently, we launched our first podcast session with Martin Herzmann, a Business Developer at Kumovis. The main focus was put on the “3D printing industry and Point-of-Care”. As our guest is an expert and he is working in the medical 3D printing industry for more than 20 years now, we have discussed a lot of aspects regarding materials, machines or regulatory challenges in the hospitals and healthcare centers. What’s more, due to the broad industry experience and collaboration with many of well-known companies in, which Martin Herzmann was working, we were able to cover a lot more. 

Our podcast session was created with the aim to provide our listeners with the first-hand information about the 3D printing at the Point-of-Care. Talking with experts such as Martin Herzmann was a great opportunity to had an insight into the branch and his personal, work experience in the following industry. After introducing himself to our audience, Martin told us more about Kumovis. We talked about what does the company does and the type of machines and materials does it used. What we also have covered, is the type of materials that Kumovis produces and how their technology can be used at the point-of-care. In the end, we talked about the challenges of implementing 3D printing at the Point-of-Care in the hospitals and the way to overcome then. It was a great conversation, in which we gained a lot of in-depth knowledge and details in the 3D printing industry and its implementation at the Point-of-Care industry.

Below you can listen to the whole podcast about  “3D printing industry and Point-of-Care” with Martin Herzmann from Kumovis. However, if you prefer, you can also read the transcribed version of our podcast! Enjoy our podcast show and let us know what you would like to hear about in the next sessions! 

Interview With Martin Herzman (Kumovis)

[00:00:03] Welcome to our podcast session. I’m Weronika, the host of this program in which we are going to talk about 3D printing at the point-of-care industry with the experts in the branch. We would like to also invite you to check our website, 3dpoc com, where we post the latest news and advancements in the industry. So, let’s move on to our first episode. Today, our guest is Martin has been working in a medical 3D printing industry for more than 20 years now.

Hi, Martin. It’s good to have you with us today. Once again, thank you for participating in our podcast program. We know that you are working in business development at Kumovis now and that you have quite a lot of experience in other companies before.

So, let’s start with introducing yourself to our listeners and the fact that we can continue from there.

[00:00:57] Thank you very much for the moment of invitation. Yes. I’m thankful to share some insights. In regards to my personal. I joined Kumovis in the end of last year, the end of 2019 and am working in medical business development. Kumovis is focusing on medical industries and five years before I started to Materialize, setting up the German-speaking market for the for the medical area. That was my first call to the 3D printing industry, as you realized. And before that I was eight years busy with medical imaging intro operating phase. So I was really spending a lot of time in the OR. On that. In 1999, I started my medical career at Pine Lab. In those days it was a was a startup as well with one hundred employees, kind of fasted rapidly growing. And I quit brain left after eight years when they had 1000 employees. So I don’t expect to make this steep growth of employees with computers within the next month. But I do see that we are growing rapidly and the demand in the hospital and in the industry for 3D printing and medicine is growing. It is. The demand is there.

[00:02:16] I see. Thank you for such a broad introduction about you. So maybe you can tell us also more about Kumovis  What are you doing out there and what is the technology behind the printers? Can you tell us more?

[00:02:30] So Kumovis is a company founded in 2017. Founded, I would say, in parallel to the MDR introduction. When the MDR was released, the company Kumovis was founded as well. So we grew up with that compliance regulatory framework. We are a, well, we started as a manufacturer for a 3D printer. 3D printer for high-performance polymers. But we kind of quickly realized that the hardware itself does not enter any OR or does not enter any industry. You have to have a broad understanding from material science to the printer as a core to understanding clinical applications. And when you reach out to industries, you sometimes even have to re-design or start from scratch designing your material and your shapes, which means we currently develop, together with industry partners, scalable blueprints based on high-performance polymers, which can replace or adds titanium implants, titanium applications, or to start new instruments, new guides made out, yeah, polymers. We do limit printing. Limited printing means we add layer by layer in a cleanroom environment. Our, we create those models, all of those instruments, those implants in cleanroom environment layer by layer with materials such as PEEK, which is the most popular, but as well PPSU, PKK, PI, better known as Altium/Ultem and plenty of resorbables, which can be then implanted directly into the body.

[00:04:21] I see. OK. So talking about materials. What kind of materials your machines can print Like for example, medical materials, industrial or anything else that you want to mention?

[00:04:33] Well, these metallic materials I think are very, very important, because if you look into these compatability for the Biocon tests, we use materials which are really released for medical on the whole broader scale, which means in toxicity, in regards to biocompatibility. There is a broad scale of test environments you have to perform before you are released for human use. From body context to interims body contact, contemporary body content into implants implanted with grade materials, we offer a broad range of materials and we use a broad range. We don’t offer them exactly Ivonik? and Solvay. Our partners are the material suppliers and they provide the documentation in regards to sterilization, in regards to compatibility, in regards to all those necessary documents you need to be able to enter on a serious scale. The implant and the instrument level for production.

[00:05:45] Great. Thank you. And also, can you tell me what classes and types of medical devices can your printers produce? And are there any kind of examples that you can share with us?

[00:05:57] Well, we mainly focused. Let’s say what we are not focusing on. We do not focus on anatomical models. We see a lot of printers and anatomical printing is very popular and very helpful for sure, no doubt about this. But Kumovis is not looking into 3D anatomical models.We are looking into a higher risk class medical products, which are mainly implants, which are then class III or guides with being classed IIb or class IIa guides for resection, guides for tumor resection, guys for osteotomies as well. As guides for oncology application where you have radiotherapy seats for brachytherapy, for example, where you need regular essence material which, which is guiding the radiation to the tumor that. So those are the risk class. I would say IIa, IIb and III are our main focus. And in regards to specific applications, personalized implants in the clinic, maxillofacial area and neurosurgical area is very concrete from our and so a cranial your plate is a very concrete product you can see from Kumovis as well as spinal cages and those spine catches are not patients-specific. Those spinal cages are serial production and those are industry partners we are working with here. We talked about plenty, thousands of spinal cages they produce and they design together in cooperation, in close cooperation with us to be produced and in polymer material, not in titanium.

[00:07:40] Sure. I understand. And how do you imagine Kumovis technology being used on the point-of-care? Or is it being used right now? And what possible value can it bring to the healthcare centers?

[00:07:55] Yeah. So the value for a 3D printer in the hospital certainly is the personalized medicine. You can serve personalized medicine. And a huge value for the individual patients. This technology certainly has a big future and great future in terms of vision, in terms of a mission for a surgeon, for a doctor. It can be used for patient-specific and personalized medicine in regards to resection guides, as I would say, the first example, because resection guides are temporary used, anatomical, somebody goes specified guides and as a second step implants, the implants have a higher risk class and therefore, risk management in the hospital probably is one of the challenges you would probably talk about later. And something, which might be considered as a roadblock for all hospitals, we are in contact with plenty of hospitals right now and today, unfortunately, not yet. And we have not yet one installation as we had the first installation in 2019, which means we are too young to present a large scale of the solutions so far. However, we see a great demand and experience during COVID, during Corona times that hospitals want to gain independence and a 3D printer, which is capable of producing implants without any delivery chains, without any relationships to foreign countries, that’s a value which has been seen during Corona and COVID times a lot. And we, I would not say benefited, but we at least gained a lot of audience during the last weeks and months and lots of projects have been started to race to gain independence again. And not only to serve patients with personalized medicine but to start thinking of independence from the hospital side. And this is where we benefit.

[00:10:05] I see. Thank you so much. And what is the challenge and the challenge actually that you have to get your technology has to overcome in the hospitals. And how do you plan to overcome that?

[00:10:18] Yeah, one challenge certainly is the regulatory framework. Everything that is technically possible does not mean it is legally allowed, which means that hospitals printing medical devices and they are not aware of the circumstances that they are a medical device manufacturer. They simply do it because it’s technically possible. And you see the technical advantage. However, the regulatory framework certainly is one of the main challenges. And we certainly want to stick to those regulatory framework, because we see it as a necessary environment. Otherwise, we would create a weird world. So this is certainly one of the biggest challenges. And the second challenge, hospitals are as fascinated as they are about 3D printing, as streamlined they become in regards to efficiency and economical mindsets, which means, you need to have somebody to run the 3D printer to start the designs, to understand both the condition as well as the engineering part of 3D printing, which means we believe you need a dedicated person in the OR indeed, not in OR,  in the hospital environment to run a 3D printer, which means additional stuff and additional hardware is needed. And sometimes it’s easy to install a machine, but you have to have somebody who runs the machine. And this education of biomedical engineers certainly is a necessary skill set you need to find in the hospital. The surgeons themselves want to have the results. But, the engineer needs to have the skills to allow the surgeon to get access to this implant, to this guide. And therefore, a new job position. I would say must be created within the hospital environment, which can be the biomedical engineer or somebody who is running the 3D printer.

[00:12:24] Yes, definitely. Martin, thanks a lot. That was my last question. Or Is there anything else that you want to add or mention before we can finish our call?

[00:12:34] I would like to mention that I see a bright future for 3D printing at point of care, as well as personalized medicine as a service from industries. So, I am excited how this market will develop and I see it’s a very, very agile market. So, therefore, I am thankful that somebody has an eye on it and I will certainly follow your activities and one of your first followers from scratch on. So, thanks for setting it up and thanks for making the platform available to look into these agile markets in detail.

[00:13:08] Great to hear that. Thanks a lot, Martin. I think this marks the end of our session. It was a very interesting conversation. Thank you once again for being with us today and we hope to have you once again in our program. We wish you all the best going forward with your amazing journey at Kumovis! 

Thank you.

[00:13:28] Thank you for listening to our podcast show, if you like it, visit our website 3dpoc.com and stay tuned for the next sessions! In the meantime, leave us comments, subscribe to our newsletter, read our latest articles and let us know what you would like us to talk about in the next episodes! Have a great day and bye!

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