CUT changing faces and living with 3D printing

Stakeholders at the Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing’s additive manufacturing projects. At the back from the left are CRPM’s Dr Gerrie Booysen, CUT’s Prof Alfred Ngowi and CEO of CUTIS, Quvile Glarington. In front are Pelonomi CEO, Baesi Ramodula, and Fuch’s Foundation representative, Corné Booyens.

The Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM) at the Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein continues to make a real impact on the lives of patients. This is thanks to the innovative technology of 3D printing, which the institution uses to create facial prosthetics.

The university held an event where it shared its research and work in the medical product development field using this method. In this way many lives have been changed for the better. This was in partnership with various stakeholders, including Pelonomi Academic Hospital and the Carl & Emily Fuchs Foundation.

According to CEO of Pelonomi, Baesi Ramodula, the hospital merged its expertise and facilities with CUT’s technology to better the lives of patients. “They create 3D printings depending on what the patient needs. We then provide the surgeons, medical theatres, and other clinical specialists as necessary,” said Ramodula.

Many of the patients who had reconstructive surgery were cancer patients, some were victims of violence, while others were born with growths that compromised their facial structure. The centre is part of CUT’s social responsibility and community engagement programme to provide a platform for the development of social and technological innovations for the benefit of the society at large

Corné Booyens of the Carl & Emily Fuchs Foundation, a major funder of the CRPM, expressed pride in being involved in such a project. “The CRPM is one of twelve projects that we are funding over a period of four years. It is an important cause because the CRPM is involved in technology development and the foundation supports new cutting edge technology created in our own country,” she said.

“This is powerful because of the real impact that the technology has on real people’s lives. Making a real impact on the lives of South Africans is one of our major goals,” added Booyens. – Nomaqhawe Mtebele