According to Avallone, Baumeister, Sadegh and Simeon Marks (1) rapid prototyping is a kind of modern technology that involves making of virtual objects over the computers and then using the ideas to make a real object. Since the technology began around the 1980s it has been used to produce a number of products in various fields of manufacturing either in large scale or in small scale (Kusiak, p1-4). This includes the production in foods, mechanical equipments, learning materials, agricultural materials, art objects and medical products among others.
As discussed in Oberg, Jones, Horton, McCauley and Ryffel (1324) currently the rapid prototyping technology is involved in all production processes of the various products whenever it is used. Different technologies are used in rapid prototyping and the include use of computers in manufacturing and designing products. For example computer aided design involves the use of modern computer systems to design product features that can meet what the consumers would prefer to have for use in the market place (Parsaei and Sullivan 182). This is done by first using the computer to create a design model of a product in a way it could be expected to be in reality and then making the actual product by using the model that was created in the computer.
Computer aided design is also used to make designs of various objects and this way it makes work easier in designing because it is the computer that does all this work with the software that is installed in the computer as long a somebody is there to direct to achieve a desired result (Oshida 199). The computer program and the software that are used to create the designs allow the designer to try may designs so as to enable the person to pick among thee many design the one that will be suitable depending with the situation (Fung and Chien 145).
As discussed in (Bidanda and Bartolo 84-89, 200-290) the other major form of technology in rapid prototyping involves the use of computers and other forms of software that are dedicated to production to assist in the manufacturing of various types of products. In the application of this technology a manufacturer is enabled to have a picture of the kind of product he would like to manufacture by using a computer to design the product with all the features that the manufacturer wants it to have (Hague, Reeves and Rapra technology ltd 7). The technology allows the human beings that are involved in the manufacturing process to be able to increase the production capacity and maintain a high quality of the products over a given period of time while increasing their skills in production processes (Wnek and Bowlin 2833).
As pointed out in (National academies press 8-9, 26-42) the computer aided technologies in product design and manufacturing have developed with time from when they used to be applied in the manufacture of vehicles and making of aero planes which were considered to be technical production processes that needed assistance besides that being provided by human beings. At this current age such technologies have been embraced by various industries like the biomedical industry, making of agricultural manchines and other agricultural products, in manufacture of weapons among other industries that have embraced such a technology (Pique and Chrisey 28-50).
As discussed by (Laurencin and Nair 65) and (Peterson’s 17-43) the technology of rapid prototyping is most suitable in the production tasks that require a high speed to manufacture products, processes that tend to be dangerous if they are carried by an ordinary human being and those that involve performing so many tasks at the same time which no ordinary human being can carry out. In addition to that (Macdonald, Ryall and Wimpenny 175) discuss that the reason as to why the technology is referred to as rapid because it involves the carrying out of designing and production activities within a minimum period of time depending on the product that is being manufactured and designed and the machine equipment that is being used for production purposes.
As the rapid prototyping technology is changing the way different organizations are carrying out their day to day tasks the biomedical industry has not been spared in having to change with the changing economical, competition, physical, social, political and legal environments (Staff et al 87-90). In relation to the biomedical field the rapid prototyping machines have transformed this industry. This ranges from the way laboratory tests are carried out, inventions of new drugs, diagnosing diseases in the body, the medical instruments and in the delivery of medical care services (Bronzino 47).
As discussed by (Winter 29) such applications of the technology have been seen in the production of drugs in large numbers to cure various diseases especially the diseases that tend to be more contagious and resistant to drugs. The CAD and CAM technologies have been applied to those fields by using computers, other control techniques and improved raw materials to make chemical solutions that can cure various diseases within a short period of time (Saltzman 6).
According to (Atala and Mooney 1-33) and (Wise 700) another area in biomedical industry that has undergone such a tremendous change is the way in which various body tissues are being treated. In the past there used to be problems in the carrying out organ transplants as the organs could refuse to cope well in the new body to which it has been transferred to. Nowadays machines and drugs have been designed and manufactured through rapid prototyping that help the body cells and fluids to take a shortest time possible to adapt to the other bodies (Shutte et al 100).
In his conclusion (Stroscio and Dutta 69) and (Hauser and Fussenegger 71) body cells have also been creating by use of this technology whereby the cells are made to be compatible with many bodies that makes the organ transplant. Doctors, surgeons and other health care workers have collaborated efforts to establish various models that include areas of their specializations to come up with viable ideas that can increase the applications of the rapid prototyping technology.
Concerning the whole issue of body tissues, mechanisms have been used by the help of computer assisted designing techniques and computer aided manufacturing systems to create artificial body tissues to serve the purposes of those tissues that cannot be transplanted from one person to another (Fisher et al 18-33). For example artificial body tissues like the liver, the pancreas, heart and skin among others have been manufactured and the serve the functions that the natural tissues serve in the bodies of human beings and animals (Guilak et al 194).
This has been made possible by combining the body cells with other raw materials using the modern engineering techniques and taking to consideration of various environmental factors and other factors to come up with reliable and efficient body tissues. In general body tissue engineering covers a wide range of tissues and all these have been tested and proved on mainly the bones, the body blood vessels like veins, and the liver among others. Tissue engineering helps the medical expertise to create certain mechanical structures and make necessary structural adjustments to enable the body to function well with the artificial organs.
In reference to tissue engineering again drugs have been created that will enable the destroyed body cells to grow up again or recover one those tissues have been destroyed. Which is done by a person be able to undergo a reconstructive surgery that will use the developed collagen to enable the body to build up well again.
Radiography techniques have also been improved whereby by use of the rapid prototyping technique the x rays can be used to examined and take images of the inside parts of the body that have problems like in the cases of accidents they are used to check on the state of the body if it sustained minor or major body injuries that needs to be treated (Bonfield 1-4).
As discussed in his article on prototyping (Narayan 1340-1341) points out that the various techniques of rapid prototyping have served the various purposes well and with that effect the biomedical industry is making serious adjustments to be able to improve the delivery of the medical services to their customers well enough by taking advantage of the developments in technology to make more advanced medical science equipments which is an area of great interest of the manufacturers of medical equipment (Nerem 095- 099).
As discussed in (Munguia et al 173-179) the good side of using the technology of rapid prototyping is that it makes work more easier to handle by enabling the processes to be done in such a way that will enable only control measures to be taken especially when the jobs are those that are to be done at the same time and involve a high speed in doing them. It also makes simple the complex manufacturing processes by first making models that will act as guides to what is being aimed at from the manufacturing functions. In addition to that the technology involves the integration of various tasks in ways that will ensure that the best quality is produced within a minimum time allowance (Ratner 837-850).
To summarize on the rapid prototyping technology developments, the traditional ways of carrying out activities have to be looked at carefully so as to make serious improvements when the areas of change have been identified. The computerization processes will help to improve on the change areas as they will increase the speed and accuracy with which a given task and function is to be carried out in various industries to meet the demands of customers and suppliers. The computer systems also help to make controls and adjustments before a product c an actually be produced this reduces the wastage of time and resources in producing products of low standards that will be rejected by the customers.
Atala A and Mooney D. Synthetic Biodegradable Polymer Scaffolds. Springer, 1997.
Avallone E. A, Baumeister T, Sadegh A and Simeon Marks L. Marks’ standard handbook for mechanical engineers. 11th edition. McGraw-Hill Professional, 2006.Oberg E, Jones.
Bidanda B and Bartolo P. Virtual Prototyping & Bio Manufacturing in Medical Applications. Springer publishers, 2007.
Bonfield W. Biomaterials and tissue engineering – a new medical horizon. Institution of mechanical engineers.London. P1-4. 1999.
Bronzino J. Tissue Engineering and Artificial Organs. 3rd edition. CRC Press, 2006.
F, Horton, and McCauley C, Ryffel H. Machinery’s Handbook: A Reference Book for the Mechanical Engineer, Designer, Manufacturing Engineer, Draftsman, Toolmaker, and Machinist. 27th edition. Industrial press Inc 2004.
Fisher P, Mikos G and Bronzino J. Tissue Engineering. CRC Press, 2007.
Fung Y and Chien S. Introduction to Bioengineering. World Scientific, 2001.
Guilak F, Butler L, Goldstein S and Mooney D. Functional Tissue Engineering. Springer, 2004.
Hague R, Reeves P and Rapra technology limited. Rapid Prototyping, Tooling and Manufacturing. iSmithers Rapra, 2000.
Hauser H and Fussenegger M. Tissue Engineering. 2nd edition. Humana Press, 2007.
Kusaik A. Computational Intelligence in Design and Manufacturing. Wiley-IEEE publishers, 2000.
Laurencin C and Nair L. Nanotechnology and Tissue Engineering: The Scaffold. CRC Press, 2008.
McDonald J, Ryall C and Wimpenny D. Rapid Prototyping Casebook. John Wiley and Sons, 2001.
Munguia J, Ciurana J and Riba C. pursuing successful rapid manufacturing: a user’s best practices approach. Rapid prototyping journal. 2008, Vol 14, 3, 173-179.
National Academies Press. Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research. National Academies Press, 2007.
Nerem R M. Tissue engineering: confronting the transplantation crisis. Proceedings of the institution of mechanical engineers part H journal of engineering in medicine. Vol 214, H1, p095- 099, 2000. Retrieved online on http://220.127.116.11/webview/?session=88947941;infile=details.glu;loid=202928;rs=86381;hitno=10
Oshida Y. Bioscience and Bioengineering of Titanium Materials. Elsevier, 2007.
Parsaei H and Sullivan W. Concurrent Engineering: Contemporary Issues and Modern Design Tools. Springer, 1993.
Peterson’s. Peterson’s Graduate Programs in Engineering ; Applied Sciences: Engineer/Appld Sci. 40th edition. Published by Peterson’s, 2005, 2006.
Pique A and Chrisey D. Direct-write Technologies for Rapid Prototyping Applications: Sensors, Electronics, and Integrated Power Sources. Academic press, 2002.
Ratner. B. New ideas in biomaterials science – a path to engineered biomaterials. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Volume 27, Issue 7, July 1993, p 837-850
Roger Narayan. Recent developments in rapid prototyping of biomaterials. Biotechnology journal. August 2007, Vol 2, 11, 1340-1341. Retrieved online:http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/116839068/PDFSTART
Saltzman W. Tissue Engineering: Engineering Principles for the Design of Replacement Organs and Tissues. Oxford University Press US, 2004.
Schutte E, Picciolo G and Kaplan D. Tissue Engineered Medical Products (TEMPs). ASTM International, 2004.
Staff B, Bartolo P, Inc NetLibrary and Bartolo P. Virtual and Rapid Manufacturing. Routledge, 2007.
Stroscio A and Dutta M. Biological Nanostructures and Applications of Nanostructures in Biology: Electrical, Mechanical, and Optical Properties. Springer, 2004.
Winter R. Advances in High Pressure Bioscience and Biotechnology II: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on High Blood Pressure Bioscience and Biotechnology, Dortmund, September 16-19, 2002. Springer, 2003.
Wnek G and Bowlin G. Encyclopedia of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering. 2nd edition, Informa Health Care, 2008.