The first machine of its type in Ireland, the TruPrint 2000 is now producing prototypes and samples for a variety of customers in 17-4 and 316 stainless steels.

Smithstown focuses on the provision of precision-engineered medical device and orthopaedic instrument/implant solutions, typically for hip and knee replacement procedures and cardiovascular delivery devices.

Already offering a range of manufacturing capabilities, including milling, turning, grinding and EDM, the firm wanted to add 3D printing to its repertoire, and set about creating an Additive Centre within a recently constructed 30,000 square foot extension, to provide an additive support role for medical device customers, specifically regarding R&D work.

Smithstown is using its new TruPrint 2000 to produce printed parts from metal. The company's new Additive Centre also houses a machine for printing polymer components.

"Additive is ideal for medical work because of the complex geometries involved," explained managing director Gerard King. "Without 3D printing, several processes would be required, taking many hours. Additive also offers the potential for individual customisation, which has obvious benefits for products such as implants.”

"In the medical sector it can take years to move from the design and test stage, to validated production, but we're now in a position to help expedite this process and bring customer ideas to life," said Kevin Kelly, manufacturing engineer.

"Upon reaching the production phase of current projects we could well need several 3D printing systems so that we can dedicate machines to a single material. We will not hesitate to invest in more machines if the demand is there.”

The small 55 µm diameter laser beam, ensures the TruPrint 2000 provides a high quality printing result for surface quality and level of detail. Two Trumpf 300 W fibre lasers deliver high productivity over the entire cylindrical build volume of 200mm diameter by 200mm high.

Smithstown's business strategy is to focus more on high volume precision components, rather than simply tooling and small-batch parts.