New partnership to research 3D printing of next-gen medical devices

18 Mar 2021

Image: © Mihail/

Prof Dermot Brabazon will lead I-Form in a new research partnership with Fort Wayne Metals, producing devices for cutting-edge catheters and stents.

I-Form, the Science Foundation Ireland research centre for advanced manufacturing, has announced a partnership with manufacturer Fort Wayne Metals to develop 3D-printed wires for next-gen medical devices.

Fort Wayne Metals is headquartered in the US but has been operating in Castlebar, Co Mayo, since 2002. It now employs 110 people in the region, having announced 80 new jobs amid a €10m investment in the facility in 2019. Its materials are used in guidewires, stents, embolic filters, pacemaker and neurostimulation leads, endoscopy and orthopaedic devices, and more.

The manufacturer’s four-year partnership with I-Form will involve research into the use of metal alloys for 3D printing of wire and tubing. The goal is to produce devices for use in next-gen catheters and stents.

“This long-term engagement with I-Form will be an important part of our R&D programme and supports our recently announced expansion at the Castlebar site,” said Michael O’Donnell, Fort Wayne Metal’s managing director in Ireland.

“We look forward to collaborating on the development of additively manufactured components for the medical device industry.”

I-Form represents a range of research expertise from University College Dublin, Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin, Institute of Technology Sligo, NUI Galway, Waterford Institute of Technology and Maynooth University. Last year, the research centre used its 3D printing facilities to produce face shields for medical staff working in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dublin City University’s Prof Dermot Brabazon will lead I-Form in the joint research project with Fort Wayne Metals.

“The cutting-edge additive manufacturing equipment and expertise across the I-Form centre will support the delivery of this collaborative research programme with Fort Wayne Metals,” Brabazon said. “We are excited to partner with the company on developing innovative components for the next generation of medical devices.”

Prof Mark Ferguson, director general at SFI, added: “Collaboration and innovation are at the very core of the SFI research centre network, which continues to build on Ireland’s international reputation for research excellence.”

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021