Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Centre for Biological Engineering

Direct Write Technology for Maxillofacial Therapies

  • Old ear
  • Implant with bar
  • Prosthesis made using RP
Photo of old prosthetic ear, implant with bar, and then prosthesis made using RP

There are some 30,000 patients per annum in the UK requiring maxillofacial therapies, resulting from congenital conditions, surgery, or trauma.

Conventional therapies were dependant upon craft based, and often patient-distressing, methods. This project looked at building upon a demonstration-of-concept to develop systematic techniques and business models that integrate computer imaging, reverse engineering, and direct writing that both create new business opportunities within the complex healthcare environment and enhance patient therapy.

The manufacturing methodology were trialled across an extended patient range, and extended to new potential therapies. The specific objectives of the research were:

  1. to replace craft based maxillofacial therapies with technology based reverse engineering and direct write processes
  2. to demonstrate clinical efficacy and process repeatability within a general hospital setting
  3. to extend proof of concept to two additional therapies
  4. to create robust CAD and process software to control the reverse engineering process
  5. to establish standardized therapy delivery protocols that can be patient customised
  6. to generate business models for the delivery of the therapies.

Funding bodies

Project dates / duration

July 2006 - March 2009

Project team


Project website



Amit Chandra: A.Chandra@lboro.ac.uk, 01509 564890

Project outputs / results

Williams, D.J., Wells, O., Hourd, P. and Chandra, A., ''Feeling the Pain: Disruptive Innovation in Healthcare Markets'', International Federation for Information Processing, Innovation in Manufacturing Networks, 266, Americo Azevedo, Universidade de Porto, Boston: Springer, Eighth IFIP International Conference on Information Technology for Balanced Automation Systems, Porto, Portugal, 2008, 25-34, ISBN: 978-0-387-09491-5.

Chandra, A., Watson, J., Rowson, J.E., Holland, J., Harris, R.A. and Williams, D.J., ''Application of Rapid Manufacturing Techniques in Support of Maxillofacial Treatment - Evidence of the Requirements of Clinical Applications'', Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture, 2196, 1st June 2005, 469-475, ISSN 09544054

Chandra, A., Watson, J., Rowson, J.E., Cheng, L.E., Darliston, R., Sibtain, A., Holland, J., Harris, R.A. and Williams, D.J., ''Application of Rapid Manufacturing Techniques in Support of Maxillofacial Treatment - Evidence of the Requirements of Clinical Applications'', International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Abstracts of the 17th International Conference on Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 34, Supplement 1, August 2005, p 38, ISSN 0901-5027

Williams, D.J., Ratchev, S., Chandra, A. and Hirani, H., ''The Application of Assembly and Automation Technologies to Healthcare Products'', CIRP Annals - Manufacturing Technology, 552, August 2006, 617-642, ISSN 00078506

Departmental working papers

Chandra, A., Harris, R.A., Holland, J., Rowson, J. E., Watson, J. and Williams, D.J., ''Case Study: Use of Portable Digital Scanner for Making Ear Prostheses for Burns Patients'', 2004, Healthcare Engineering Group, No. HEG/06.0/04.

Chandra, A., Williams, D.J. and Hourd, P., ''From Craft production to mass customisation. Innovation requirements for Healthcare Industries in the UK. Case Study.'', 2005, Healthcare Engineering Group, No. HEG/17.0/05.

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