Medical 3D Players: The Role of Sustainability in Personalization
Is it real or imagined?
Uncover the latest medical advancements and challenges in 3D technology in this podcast. Hosts Pieter Slagmolen and Sebastian De Boodt from Materialise are joined by different experts to examine key developments in the healthcare industry.
Sustainability is the big buzzword in medicine these days, but you have to wonder if personalization can really help achieve it — or is it hype? Didier Deltort, President of Personalization and 3D Printing at HP, gives some clear and definitive answers. Find out more about the far-reaching implications of personalization in healthcare and other industries, as well.
Pieter Slagmolen: 00:06
Welcome to the 3D players podcast, where we explore personalization in healthcare through advancements in 3D technology. We will talk to leaders championing more predictable and sustainable patient care. I'm Pieter Slagmolen and I'm joined by my co-host Sebastian De Boodt. Hi, Peter. Our guest today is Didier Deltort, who is the President of Personalization and 3D printing at HP. Didier comes with wide experience in the medical device sector, which he acquired in previous leadership positions at companies such as Zimmer Biomet, Boston Scientific and GE. Didier, it's an honor to have you on our podcast and talk with you about mass personalization.
Maybe to kick it off, I'd like you to tell us how you got started at HP and what sparked your transition from the medical device industry to the 3D printing industry?
Didier Deltort 00:55
Hey, thanks, Peter, and Sebastian for having me today with you. It's great to be here and talk about one of my passions: healthcare, medical devices and innovation. Just so that you know why I returned to HP after 25 years, very few people remember that HP used to be in healthcare. We used to be the world's leader in patient monitoring, cardiac ultrasound, ECG devices and healthcare IT. So I'm back after 25 years. And as you said I spent time at GE, at Boston Scientific, and Zimmer Biomet. I returned after running several large healthcare businesses around the world and innovation, and this is where I saw firsthand the true disruptive potential of 3D printing and other technologies. Last year, I took on the role of leading HPs personalization and 3D printing division globally, which includes strategy, R&D, innovation and the commercial side of the 3D printing business.
Pieter Slagmolen 01:54
One thing that strikes us, is that you moved from the medical devices industry into the 3D printing industry. You've already said that you have seen the disruptive potential. How has it changed your view on 3D printing as a technology moving from the medical devices to the industry itself?
Didier Deltort 02:11
Yeah, so look, I came back because I truly believe in HP, but overall in the industry, we've got the opportunity to create a more personal, healthier and sustainable world. And that's what we are going after within P3D (we call it P3D here at HP). We intend to do it through the power of additive manufacturing and mass personalization. Our goal is to become the (or one of the) leading 3D printing company (-ies) in the world. That's why I came back to HP: to lead this evolution or revolution, whatever you call it, and I'm proud of what we have achieved, and what the team has achieved, the last six years. We have already laid out a strong foundation in industrial thermoplastics. We have about 35% market share and more than 1,000 customers in metals. We have validated product application, and we are preparing for broad commercial availability this year. Overall, we have more than 20,000 patents, have produced more than 130 million parts globally with the help of our technology. And the large portion comes from the healthcare now customers. To do this, we are focused on specific verticals that are ripe for disruption. I'll talk about it later but sustainable packaging, medical healthcare, and then sport and wellness, for sure.
Sebastian De Boodt 03:25
HP definitely made its mark on the 3D printing industry in the past years. So what's interesting is your title, Didier. You are “President of Personalization,” which is a fairly unique title in the industry. What excites you about personalization?
Didier Deltort 03:41
Look, I think it says pretty well what we are going after, you know, we are not going after low-end, quote-unquote, “cheap prototyping.” You know, things we're looking for: industrial thermal plastics, or metals, etc., where we can bring additive manufacturing and make a difference. The word personalization means a lot. It means there are parts which are super-complicated in healthcare, for example, to make, to produce, and we believe this is where additive manufacturing can help to make those parts highly personalized, because, as you know, in healthcare, everything is personal down to the individual's body shapes anatomy and condition. That's why we put on my title the word “personalization,” because it's not just about mass production for the sake of mass production. It's those fine parts, which need to be highly personalized. That’s what we are going after.
Sebastian De Boodt 04:30
And I'm assuming your scope there and personalization is broader than medical applications. But what do you think of the medical markets? How do you believe mass personalization will drive value there?
Didier Deltort 04:42
It's a great question. And this is an important priority and big priority to our customers to drive mass personalization. I believe it's important that we go beyond the printer and deeper into the value chain and we have a huge opportunity to help our customers unlock the full potential. This includes everything from data capture, data management, digitization, customization and workflow... To give an example, the Arize that we launched last year in the US market. It's a great example that we have been working on. It's a custom automatic solution. And I don't know if you know, but according to the American Podiatric Medical Association survey, nearly 77% of Americans reported that they experience foot pain and imagine going through the life facing pain, daily pain. So the current approach is simply too expensive, inconvenient, and inconsistent and Arize, brings together the mass personalization and design flexibility of our Multi Jet Fusion. With HP software and fully integrated digital workflow from the foot scan to delivery of the final product, the result is a customized orthotics that is expected to be 20 to 60% more affordable, and made just for the patient's needs be delivered in a dramatically shorter time. With minimal in person requirements. So this is the type of customization which drives affordability, speed, and convenience. And that is needed against the traditional methods.
Sebastian De Boodt 06:15
It's interesting to see that you are definitely moving beyond your role as a 3D printer manufacturer with the Arize platform. It's a nice example of how you're really trying to go end-to-end. What drove you into making that strategic decision?
Didier Deltort 06:29
Yeah, it was really to go and capture more value beyond the sale of hardware and materials to create more value. It's innovating. And focusing, because as I said, we decided to focus only on sustainable packaging, medical orthotics, and then, sports and wellness. It was a way for us to get back into healthcare from the quote-unquote, “small door.” Healthcare is highly regulated. But it's important that we start from somewhere. And we picked up this application, which I think is big enough in the US where we could make a difference not only with our brands, with our technology, our go-to-market, and so forth.
Sebastian De Boodt 07:14
You mentioned the orthotics, locations, your door into the medical industry, we also saw an announcement that HP is stepping into cancer therapy, as well. Is that something where you can share some insight?
Didier Deltort 07:26
Yeah, we looked into how to make a difference within healthcare and 3D printed medical devices. Our first step was orthotics; eventually we will move into prosthetics. More generally, we want to move into custom body parts. Cancer is a big problem on the planet. Oncology care and cancer care is big enough. We have been working with adaptive and Varian, one of the world's leader in oncology therapy, that we could join forces and really help patient care and cancer care overall.
Pieter Slagmolen 08:02
Focused on the big opportunities out there, I have the impression.
Didier Deltort 08:06
Yeah, it's important that you pick an industry, a vertical, an application where the total addressable market is big enough, but also this segment is ripe for disruption, and if you got the legitimacy, you've also got the ability to transform this industry.
Pieter Slagmolen 08:21
And when we talk about the ability to transform the industry, what do you think will be kind of the main challenges that will increase the further adoption of 3D printing specifically for personalized devices?
Didier Deltort 08:32
I would say regulation is one piece. And I think scaling technology is going to be important when you look at healthcare. It's a very large industry, you’ve got to establish the players in this field. And it's also the partnerships. I don't think one company can tackle it all. And that's the approach we're taking we are not doing all those things on our own, we got great hardware, we got metals that we are leveraging from the metals industry, we got software—and we are one customer of yours, by the way. And then we are leveraging those companies for post-processing, and then integration within manufacturing, you know, information system. So once again, in order to tackle some of the biggest problems and challenges and to disrupt some of those industries, we’ve got to join forces and go together hand-in-hand in tackling those problems.
Pieter Slagmolen 09:25
I couldn't agree more. I think collaboration is one of the crucial elements. Definitely, if you think about taking a more end-to-end approach, which I have the impression that you're taking, that's something that we can subscribe to for sure. Do you believe maybe that that's the direction also for the industry is to go more towards end-to-end solutions rather than to focus on individual components maybe?
Didier Deltort 09:48
We believe the market is segmented. You got the “small service bureaus,” which are still very important for the ecosystem of additive manufacturing. You have the larger service bureaus, the contract manufacturers, and then you got the OEMs, or “the brands” as we call them. And then within those, you got what we call transportation, more mobility with automotive and aviation, you got industrial, you got consumer electronics and goods, and then you got health care. It's important that you tackle all those different segments and the needs of those segments and customers and partners in a different way. And that’s why, We try to do our commercial go-to-market solutions approach, which means not only selling hardware, but selling hardware and software and materials, and services and consulting professional services, to really understand what each of those market segments are really looking for, and adopt offerings accordingly. So that's how I approach today, okay, because again, those different segments require different things. Some of our customers and partners are looking for one or two printers, we don't want to say no; we still want to sell them great technology and materials and solutions overall. And you got some customers who are looking for much more than that and scale. You got some customers will clearly ask us to help design parts together with them. And then you got some customers who want to approach with an end-to-end solution. And again, we have selected three end-to-end applications: one self-sustaining packaging, the other one medical orthotics, and the last one is sports and wellness.
Sebastian De Boodt 11:29
As I understand the end-to-end is just one of the ways to valorize technology, we really need to look at specific applications and the needs in that market.
Didier Deltort 11:38
The way to say it, Peter, and Sebastian, and this is public information. The total 3D printing market is probably between $10 – $15 billion dollars, according to the latest reports. And within this $10 to $15 billion dollars, you’ve obviously got the prototyping business, the professional business, the industrial business, and we have decided to focus on industrial and within this industrial, you've got of course hardware, software, materials and services and professional services.When we look at some of those integrated verticals, solution or end-to-end, the total addressable market is much bigger. You look at the model fiber tooling solutions business and sustainable packaging is $10 billion market, which is ripe for disruption. In the future, if you look at the orthotics and prosthetics, you know, and custom body parts is also a market which is probably around $10 billion. And when you look at the sports and wellness industry, it's another $10 billion industry; so that's what we're trying to do while still helping customers in the traditional 3D printing environment and business. So again, service bureaus, contract manufacturers and brands, we are trying to bring in solutions for those verticals, we are going after.
Sebastian De Boodt 12:50
3D printing is more just one of the elements within that vertical and in that way you make your market bigger. Yeah, makes a lot of sense. Very interesting to hear your strategic approach. One question on the application, and how to approach the market depending on the application. We do see a big trend, at least in our healthcare space, where we are most familiar with, Pieter and I, in hospitals doing 3D printing at the Point-of-Care. I'm curious what your perspective is on that.
Didier Deltort 13:21
We are early in the process. And we have been working on healthcare solutions for about six months. As I said, you know, we launched the Arize last year in August-September. So we started there, and we will slowly but surely move into prosthetics. We recently announced a collaboration with Adaptiiv and Varian to advance the quality and access to personalized cancer care so there should be more to come—stay tuned. But I'm enjoying very much the process of growing and building a team for this market. I'm used to say to customers, partners and people like you that 25 years ago, HP had thousands and thousands of people who knew extremely well about the market—from regulatory, quality, go-to-market engineering and so forth. We are slowly but surely rebuilding some of this know-how but started with an application which is medical orthotics, so stay tuned.
Pieter Slagmolen 14:41
We talked about regulatory a number of times already, obviously in the healthcare space. That's the crucial element to take into account in whatever we bring to the market. How do you look at the regulatory environment for personalized devices and 3D printing?
Didier Deltort 14:59
This seems obviously a complex question and a topic for a healthcare guy, we could spend an entire podcast on, you know, having lived myself (going) through the FDA, 510K approvals and the evolution of medical devices regulation here in Europe. This is important, so I'll try to hit a few important points here. But there are experts focused on this full time. And this is essential to successfully scale additive manufacturing in the medical industry. So those of us in the healthcare industry recognize regulations, and have been and will continue to be, critical for the safety of the patients. At the end, you are dealing with patients. So we are seeing two different trends regarding regulations. On one side, the things done in Point-of-Care are going to be more regulated. And the exception, which used to be used by hospitals will, in my mind be diminished, okay, because at the end you deal with patients, and this will probably move production volume towards centralized certified facilities and potentially close to hospitals. That's why on the other side, due to COVID pandemic, it gave a lot of visibility into what additive manufacturing can provide. And it created strong networks with regulators to accelerate the understanding from the urgencies of the system—the risk and the opportunities. On one hand, I see regulation not going away. But on the other hand, I see regulators understanding better the contribution of additive manufacturing. I think there should be, in the future, a much deeper contribution from those in the additive manufacturing industry, and more active participation in working groups. There are also some signs and hopes that the EU and FDA regulations converge. Companies can register the products across geographies, faster, and cheaper. As you can imagine, we are starting to play in this area with the medical robotics and we are accelerating our learning by working like startup companies and other companies that are growing in this space. And this will also be the way to grow. I don’t know how but healthcare is really the industry where personalization makes sense. It will lead to better outcomes in the future.
Pieter Slagmolen 17:22
Yeah, I totally agree. And it brings me to one of the follow-up topics that often a lot of people challenge us when you talk about personalization, that's the sustainability of it all. I know that as a company, that's an important theme for you guys as well, sustainability. So how do you see personalization contribute to sustainability going forward?
Didier Deltort 17:42
Sustainability is a big, big topic, but when you look at being able to produce products closer to the needs, when you look at shortening the supply chain challenges, when you look at sustainable packaging to have in the future, 100% plastic free, compostable and biodegradable product like paper bottles, this is a big deal for the planet. It’s a big deal for us. And we're focusing a lot of time on it, but for sure 3D printing is an opportunity to help with sustainability challenges. And so far, it was used, you know, with prototyping and pre-series ?? things. But when you want to scale additive manufacturing, there are benefits of having those units, those additive manufacturing production facilities close to the needs. Not having to have the parts shipping from across the planet, in airplanes or boats, lowers the carbon footprint. It's definitely something we can tackle altogether as an additive manufacturing industry
Sebastian De Boodt 18:40
Makes a lot of sense. There's also the 3D printing itself, which also still comes at a cost. I think in general, you could still say that personalization, when it comes to manufacturing is still more expensive than series production. How do you look at that? And do you still see big shift into 3D printing becoming more affordable?
Didier Deltort 18:59
It's definitely an important topic and to successfully scale 3D printing and mass personalization, it must be cost effective, and that's something we are laser focused on, where I am convinced that we are leading into the right direction. Our customers are already able to achieve for example, lower stock levels and warehouse costs, faster turnaround times for parts production, higher value path through personalization and I'm seeing an increased investment in software to help manage end-to-end workflow. We have expanded, for example, our global digital manufacturing network and we're ensuring the highest standards for quality and reliability as demands grow. For products like Multi Jet Fusion production and network now includes both manufacturing partners and Multi Jet Fusion production professionals leveraging HP 3D printing solutions to design produce and deliver parts at scale. But definitely, you know, there are many benefits of 3D printingin lowering the stocks, the warehouse costs, the transportation costs and so on.
Pieter Slagmolen 20:06
You introduced at HP if I'm not mistaking, probably four years ago metal printing to the market? Do you see yourself introducing your metal printing technology for medical applications as well?
Didier Deltort 20:16
Yeah, for sure. And we have had some customers the last two years leveraging our—what we call internally—our better printers. You know, our pre-general availability printers, for some medical applications, and you should stay tuned, because later on during the year, we will have a broad commercial introduction of our metal printer. There will definitely be some segments where we want to leverage metal printing for health care, so we are going to target a few industries and one of them is going to be healthcare for sure.
Pieter Slagmolen 20:48
Looking forward to that ! Looking beyond, we have plastics, we have metals, one of the other frontiers or the next frontiers that we're looking at, from the innovation space, at least, is the use of bio-resorbable materials, or even maybe directly printing biologics using bioprinting. Is there anything that you have personally seen or heard about these technologies that you find fascinating and that you think have promise?
Didier Deltort 21:12
Yeah, I definitely heard about it. But you know, to have a strategy is to choose, and to choose is to exclude, or to focus. And right now, we are focusing on the three end-to-end applications or segments or industries I talked to you about. But while we are growing the knowhow and while we're expanding, be sure that we will go after–or the industry–but right now, the focus has been transportation, mobility, automotive, consumer health and wellness and sports and industrial and sustainable packaging. Not saying no to other industries. But it's important that we remain laser focused on those industries and applications so that we help customers scaling there. I'm used to say to my teams, the last decade was the decade of experimentation, and the next decade will be the decade of scaling, additive manufacturing applications.
Sebastian De Boodt 22:01
Nice to hear and it's a future we're also looking forward to. What I was wondering because you have obviously a very long history in in medical devices, if you could speak to yourself, and knowing what you know now about 3D printing more in depth and working at HP, if you could talk to yourself in your previous roles. Is there any advice that you could give based on the insights anything you would like to have done differently or paid more attention to?
Didier Deltort 22:26
I'm not sure, I would have done things dramatically differently, but for sure, in healthcare and healthcare technologies innovators and disruptors are always looking at technologies to help you know, drive a better and more healthier world. But I would say one of the reasons why I returned to HP is—looking ahead and as an engineer—technologies which have the opportunity to change our lives in the next 10 years. I would say AI is definitely one, 5G is another, robotics another and 3D printing was another one. Working for a company who wants to lead in the field of 3D printing with software and AI, etc. was super exciting for me. So not sure I would have changed too much in the past except maybe leveraging you know 3D printing for earlier prototyping and implementing agile faster. I implemented when I was at GE 10 years ago, an agile software methodology, which was very, very well known at the time. I think with products and systems, 3D printing can help also drive agile you know, we used to talk about agile for software. But I think when it comes to product and service, I think 3D printing has an opportunity to help accelerating innovation.
Sebastian De Boodt 23:42
Absolutely. It's clear that your question is also in 3D printing and the impact that it will have in the coming 10 years. Project yourself into the future for 10 years. When will you be happy? Like what's the impact you would like it to have? If you could give some concrete examples how the world would be different.
Didier Deltort 23:58
I don't know what to say. But I'll tell you my two daughters, Clara and Lauren, used to comment on my work and innovation, etc .,is very important for healthcare. But the thing I'm probably the most proud of, and will be the most proud of, is the work we're doing with sustainable packaging. I’ve got my young daughter the other day, Clara, telling me “Hey, Daddy, finally you're working on something which is going to impact the planet.” And it makes me very proud. I think we are sensitive to what's going on these days. But the young generation—I can tell you— is even more sensitive. Having two daughters, 23 and 27, telling me finally you're working on something meaningful and impactful. I was doing cool stuff in the field of healthcare, it's important, so that's what I want to be not only for myself but also my teams to be proud of. They're also helping the planet with sustainable packaging and there will not be only one solution. If there is a message I would like everybody to hear about: it’s HP will not have the entire solution for helping with sustainable packaging. We think with the acquisition we did in this year and the development we have with more than four fiber tooling solutions, we think we will have probably a solution which can address 20% to 30% of the planet’s plastic bottles challenges we are seeing these days.
Sebastian De Boodt 25:25
Can you explain for our audience the scope of the sustainable packaging project, what is the actual goal?
Didier Deltort 25:30
The goal is really to find an alternative to plastic packaging, instead of having plastic packaging for food and beverage, cosmetics, household, etc to paper bottle packaging. We have been leveraging our 3D printed model fiber tooling solutions to create packaging. But we recently did an acquisition for IP, which allow us to have liner and technology that is fully 100% plastic-free, compostable, and biodegradable. So stay tuned. The goal is really to replace the plastic bottles, plastic packaging. This is enabled by 3D printing tooling solutions.
Sebastian De Boodt 26:11
Great, sounds like a very exciting and relevant project.
Pieter Slagmolen 26:15
A noble goal and maybe a good note to end on.
Didier Deltort 26:17
There is no plan B for the planet. That's the final note.
Sebastian De Boodt 26:20
That's a very nice final note.
Thanks a lot for joining us, Didier and your inspiring words. Many things we can take from this episode, some of the things that I'll remember is well the very focused approach that he takes to the healthcare industry where you have a couple of clear applications that you're using as door openers, also looking at opportunities that are big enough to be ready for innovation. And that's where, based on that application knowledge, and you really want to make meaningful and scalable applications for 3D printing.
I also will remember that we are starting in the decade of scaling up technologies. We're only at the start and that collaboration is also very important to you; you're part of this ecosystem, and that we'll need to collaborate with each other to make it happen.
We appreciate your sharing your insights on 3D players, a podcast where we explore trends, insights and innovations in personalized and sustainable health care. We are your hosts, Sebastian De Boodt and Pieter Slagmolen. Thank you for listening and join us for the next edition!
President of Personalization and 3D Printing at HP
President of Personalization and 3D Printing at HP
Prior to HP, Deltort was President of the Europe, Middle East, and Africa business at Zimmer Biomet, one of the world’s leading musculoskeletal healthcare companies, where he led the marketing, sales, and distribution of complex hardware, software, and digital products, services, and solutions across a diverse set of markets. Before this, he held senior leadership positions at Boston Scientific Corporation, GE Healthcare, Phillips, Agilent, and Hewlett-Packard Company. He earned his master’s degree in biomedical engineering from University de Technologie de Compiègne, France.
About your hosts
Pieter is an innovation leader with a focus on strategic marketing in healthcare for new software and medical devices. Pieter’s background is in engineering with a strong interest in biomedical applications and health innovation.
Sebastian De Boodt
Market Manager — Research and Engineering
Sebastian De Boodt
Market Manager — Research and Engineering
Sebastian has devoted the past ten years of his professional life to enabling companies, hospitals, and universities to create and scale meaningful applications of personalized care through Materialise’s medical software.