WeMed, a French startup founded during the C19 pandemic, specializes in designing devices for telemedicine. After discovering the need for remote medical diagnostic devices for lowering pressure in hospitals, WeMed teamed up with Nexa3D to help produce SKOP – the world’s first 3D printing stethoscope.

SKOP was developed in April 2020 in France, during the first lock-down. During this period, healthcare professionals experienced what the rest of the world watched on TV on a daily basis: people with C19 were either in the intensive care unit or sent home without any medical follow-up. To try to alleviate this, WeMed decided to create a stethoscope that would allow access to truly remote medical diagnosis and try to replace a visit to the doctor.

SKOP is the first medical device for cardiopulmonary auscultation, intended for both healthcare professionals and the general public. The acoustic properties of the device are possible thanks to the worm technology developed by WeMed, inspired by the human ear using the concept of biomimicry design. The goal was to make SKOP universal, in its ease of use, connecting with all tablets or phones, as well as with telemedicine and communication platforms such as FaceTime, WhatsApp and Zoom.

WeMed wanted to create a device that is easy to use, universal and, above all, affordable. Selling a remote stethoscope for between € 500 and € 1,500 means that the general public would have minimal access to the technology. It was economically unattractive to suggest that every family would have a stethoscope in their home. This meant that SKOP had to be produced at low cost to ensure its versatility.

In order to increase the production speed, WeMed wanted to create SKOP as soon as possible, producing it in large quantities and in a short time, while maintaining the highest quality. Partner WeMed – Third, a contract manufacturer who used his expertise in additive manufacturing in the project, faced a dilemma between volume production and maintaining part quality. While medical devices require impeccable quality and repeatability, acoustics is a precision-based science, and high production volumes were key to this project. To meet these challenges, Nexa3D turned out to be the solution.

Nexa3D suggested a technology that offered precision, speed and repeatability in one – the NXE 400. Upon realizing these combined advantages, Third introduced Nexa3D to the design.

Nexa3D seemed seduced by the SKOP project and knew how to respond to our expectations by asking its partners to produce resins tailored to our needs” – explained Cyrille Lecroq, CEO of WeMed – “the company’s investment of time and energy in the project, so that the industrialization of SKOP could be realized. Seeing the quality of our products today, we are very happy that Nexa3D dared to take this risk and made such a choice. “

The implementation of serial production using 3D printing is associated with very high costs. The Nexa3D technology allowed for production on an industrial scale, while offering a sufficiently low cost of production. The scaling costs and complications that can arise when purchasing a large number of 3D printers have been eliminated by WeMed ordering 20 NXE 400 printers for its partner. Nexa3D printers provide very high printing accuracy, which is necessary to guarantee the acoustic quality of SKOP. The NXE400 provides high precision and has a 20 times productivity advantage, which has helped WeMed to meet delivery requirements and maintain high quality.

SKOP is currently CE certified, has been granted a marketing authorization in Canada and is in the process of obtaining an authorization from the USA. SKOP responds to a global medical problem – its scope is international, and the production volume provided by Third using NXE400 is able to achieve it. SKOP offers a competitive advantage of high-quality 3D printed parts, great production capacity in a very short time and an affordable unit cost for industrial production. Its availability helps people access remote healthcare, giving everyone the level of care they deserve and increasing patient satisfaction. WeMed is currently working on several medical devices with a philosophy similar to SKOP and plans to continue using Nexa3D’s ultra-fast technology in the future.

Source: 3DPhoenix press release

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