BURLINGTON, MA, and LEUVEN, Belgium - Z Corporation, maker of the world's fastest and only 3D color printers, and Materialise NV, creator of the leading medical imaging software for the rapid prototyping industry, are joining forces to satisfy increasing demand in the medical field for quick and easy-to-use 3D printing solutions. Z Corp. and Materialise have co-developed Mimics Z, software that makes it simple to turn MRI and CT scan images into physical models using Z Corp. 3D printers.
For the first time, medical professionals who have no previous experience with 3D modeling or 3D printing can use this office-compatible technology to quickly and easily create 3D anatomical models that have a wide range of medical applications, including pre-operative planning, specialist consultation, implant fit and design, patient counseling and medical education.
"This solution lets us use rapid prototyping technology at an unprecedented price point and level of simplicity to better diagnose, treat and counsel patients," said Dr. Fernando Urrutia, craniofacial, plastic and reconstructive surgeon of Gea Gonzalez Hospital in Mexico City. "Mimics Z wizards require users to have only nominal training to produce accurate 3D anatomical models on demand. Plus, with the speed of Z Corp. printers I can have a model in hours instead of days."
Mimics Z wizards guide doctors, nurses, and technicians through the entire process of 3D anatomical printing from import of MRI and CT scan files through printing on a Z Corp. 3D printer. The software serves up guidance at every step, supported by an extensive help function and templates. Mimics Z processes industry-standard DICOM data and outputs .ZPR files optimized for printing on Z Corp. 3D printers.
Mimics Z takes advantage of new Z Corp. 3D printers that offer resolution (600 dpi) rivaling vastly more expensive prototyping equipment, speed that is 5-10x faster, and the only color and annotation capabilities on the market. Full color capabilities enable users to highlight areas of interest, such as a bone tumor, and annotation features make it possible to label models with critical patient data and doctor comments.
"Healthcare organizations worldwide are recognizing the increased value and interest in 3D imaging and model production," said Z Corp. CEO Tom Clay. "As the leading provider of high-definition color 3D printers with a rapidly growing roster of medical customers, we identified Materialise as the ideal partner for expanding the 3D printing market and ultimately helping to deliver better patient care."
Mimics Z offers a subset of the features in Materialise's full-fledged Mimics software, which provides a broad range of imaging, CAD, analysis and simulation capabilities for use with CT and MRI data sets. Mimics Z is available today through Z Corp. resellers and only as with a bundle with a Z Corp. ZPrinter® 310 Plus, Spectrum Z™510, or Z810 System purchased on or after Sept. 15, 2005.
"Our partnership with Z Corp. helps satisfy a growing demand for digital diagnostic, treatment and education solutions that ultimately improve patient outcomes," said Kris Wouters, head of Materialise's Medical Division. "Given the special design of the easy-to-use Mimics Z, tailored especially for Z Corp. technology, we're confident that Mimics Z operating on Z Corp. printers will expose thousands of medical professionals to medical 3D modeling as a readily accessible in-house service."
Materialise, with headquarters in Belgium, started in 1990 in the sector of rapid prototyping. Since that time, the company has experienced an exponential growth. Today, its medical division develops innovative, industry-leading applications enabling advanced use of rapid prototyping, custom design and manufacturing techniques. Materialise is a trusted software partner worldwide for the leading companies of the orthopaedic implant industry, the dental implant industry as well as the worldwide biomedical research scene. Materialise has offices all over the world and the largest software development team in the RP sector. For more information, please visit www.materialise.com.
About Z Corporation
Z Corporation develops, manufactures, and markets the world's fastest, high-definition 3D printers — machines that produce 3D physical prototypes of real-world objects with the speed, ease, and affordability of 2D desktop printing. Leading manufacturers, Fortune 500 companies, and centers for research, including Sony, Fisher-Price, Adidas, Canon, NASA, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, BMW, Porsche, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Harvard, MIT and Yale, rely on Z Corp.'s printers to produce prototypes as part of the development of a broad range of world-class products and technologies. Z Corp. systems are not only the fastest 3D printers on the market but also offer the only color 3D printing capabilities. Z Corp. holds patents on its proprietary 3D printing materials and equipment and licenses others from MIT, where the company's technology was originally developed.