How IT Systems Support the Design, Production, and Quality Control of 3D-Printed Parts in Medical Manufacturing

10/13/23 2:38 PM

In medical manufacturing, 3D printing has emerged as a game-changer. This innovative technology allows for the production of highly intricate and customized medical components, leading to improved patient outcomes and cost-effective production processes.

In this blog, we will look into how IT systems, specifically Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, play a pivotal role in supporting the design, production, and quality control of 3D-printed parts in medical manufacturing facilities.

To facilitate a comprehensive understanding, we will explore the integration between MES and ERP systems with a focus on PlanetTogether, a leading advanced planning and scheduling software, and some other prominent ERP solutions such as SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Kinaxis, and Aveva. The synergy of these IT systems and 3D printing technology is reshaping the medical manufacturing industry.

The Rise of 3D Printing in Medical Manufacturing

In the last decade, 3D printing has gained immense popularity in the medical manufacturing sector. This transformative technology is being used to create a wide range of medical devices, including prosthetics, implants, dental restorations, and complex surgical instruments. The advantages of 3D printing in medical manufacturing are numerous:

Customization: 3D printing enables the creation of patient-specific medical devices, leading to improved comfort and functionality.

Rapid Prototyping: Prototyping and iterative design are streamlined, reducing development lead times.

Material Flexibility: Various materials, including biocompatible ones, can be used in 3D printing.

Cost-Efficiency: The ability to produce complex geometries and consolidate parts reduces production costs.

Improved Quality Control: Enhanced precision and consistency in manufacturing.

 Manufacturing IT Systems in Medical Manufacturing

To fully harness the potential of 3D printing in medical manufacturing, IT systems have become indispensable. Two key pillars of IT in this context are MES and ERP systems.

MES Systems

MES systems are the backbone of production operations, offering real-time visibility, control, and optimization. They facilitate the tracking of manufacturing processes, including 3D printing, and provide valuable data for analysis.

ERP Systems

ERP systems integrate various business processes, such as finance, inventory management, procurement, and order processing. They serve as the central hub for all information and decision-making within an organization.

PlanetTogether and its Integration with ERP Systems

PlanetTogether, an advanced planning and scheduling solution, is gaining significant recognition in the medical manufacturing industry due to its ability to optimize production scheduling, reduce lead times, and improve resource allocation.

Benefits of PlanetTogether

  • Advanced Scheduling: Efficiently manage complex 3D printing schedules.
  • Real-Time Visibility: Monitor machine availability, work-in-progress, and resource utilization.
  • Inventory Management: Optimize material inventory and reduce waste.
  • Increased Efficiency: Streamlined manufacturing processes lead to higher productivity.
  • Demand Forecasting: Accurately predict future production requirements.

Integration with ERP Systems

To fully realize the potential of PlanetTogether, it should be integrated with an ERP system. This integration allows for seamless data flow between production planning and business operations. Let's explore how PlanetTogether integrates with some of the leading ERP solutions:

Integration with SAP

SAP, a prominent ERP provider, can be integrated with PlanetTogether to facilitate synchronized data sharing. This integration ensures that production schedules are aligned with business goals.

Integration with Oracle

Oracle ERP provides robust financial and operational tools. When integrated with PlanetTogether, it creates a powerful combination for managing the entire medical manufacturing process efficiently.

Integration with Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics, a versatile ERP system, when coupled with PlanetTogether, offers comprehensive insights into the production process and streamlines decision-making.

Integration with Kinaxis

Kinaxis RapidResponse, known for its supply chain optimization capabilities, complements PlanetTogether's production planning strengths, creating a well-rounded solution for medical manufacturing.

Integration with Aveva

Aveva's MES solutions can be seamlessly integrated with PlanetTogether to ensure smooth data flow from the shop floor to the planning stage.

Quality Control in 3D Printing

Quality control is paramount in medical manufacturing, especially when 3D printing is involved. IT systems, including MES and ERP, play a critical role in ensuring the highest quality standards are met.

MES for Quality Control

MES systems provide real-time data on the 3D printing process. This data can be analyzed to detect and rectify defects in real-time, ensuring consistent quality.

ERP for Quality Control

ERP systems manage quality control data, allowing for traceability, documentation, and the enforcement of quality standards.

Data-Driven Decision Making

The integration of MES and ERP with advanced analytics enables predictive quality control, reducing the likelihood of defects in 3D-printed parts.

Compliance and Regulatory Considerations

The medical manufacturing industry is highly regulated, with strict quality and compliance standards. IT systems assist in adhering to these regulations, ensuring patient safety.


MES and ERP systems provide traceability of materials, processes, and personnel, which is essential for compliance with regulatory requirements.


Proper documentation of production processes and quality control measures is crucial. ERP systems excel at maintaining comprehensive records.


IT systems generate compliance reports, making it easier to demonstrate adherence to regulations.

The Future of 3D Printing in Medical Manufacturing

As technology continues to evolve, the future of 3D printing in medical manufacturing looks promising. IT systems will play an increasingly vital role in ensuring that this technology is harnessed to its full potential.

IoT Integration

The Internet of Things (IoT) will further enhance the quality control and process monitoring capabilities of IT systems in 3D printing.

AI and Machine Learning

AI and machine learning algorithms will be employed to predict and prevent defects, thus improving quality control.

Supply Chain Integration

Enhanced integration with supply chain management (SCM) systems will facilitate streamlined material sourcing and reduce lead times.


3D printing has revolutionized medical manufacturing by offering customization, cost-efficiency, and improved quality. To fully realize these benefits, IT systems, particularly MES and ERP, are critical. PlanetTogether, with its advanced planning and scheduling capabilities, stands as a powerful tool for optimizing 3D printing operations. Integrating it with ERP systems, such as SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Kinaxis, and Aveva, is the key to efficient medical manufacturing in the digital age.

As an IT Manager in a medical manufacturing facility, it's essential to recognize the immense potential that IT systems hold for your organization. The integration of MES, ERP, and advanced planning software like PlanetTogether will drive operational excellence, improve quality control, ensure compliance, and position your facility at the forefront of 3D printing technology in medical manufacturing.

In the ever-evolving landscape of medical manufacturing, staying ahead of the curve requires embracing these technologies and leveraging their full potential. The synergy between 3D printing and IT systems is transforming the industry, paving the way for innovative, patient-centric solutions. As the future unfolds, medical manufacturing is set to reach new heights, thanks to the symbiotic relationship between technology and healthcare.

Topics: Demand Forecasting, Inventory Management, Real-time Visibility, PlanetTogether Software, Integrating PlanetTogether, Increased Efficiency, Advanced Scheduling Algorithms


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