Medical reprocessing increases the lifespan of re-usable medical devices and supplies through cleaning & sterilization, and repair if necessary.  3D Scanning can be used to develop replacement parts in order to vastly increase the quantity of items that can be reprocessed. Lake Mary, FL – Every day in the United States, millions of pounds of used medical equipment and supplies are discarded after a single use.  Rather then shipped off to the local landfill, businesses that specialize in medical reprocessing now collect these discarded items for reprocessing. Reprocessing consists of cleaning, testing/verifying, sterilizing and re-packaging.  In some cases, discarded items require remanufacturing: disassembling, repairing, and manufacturing. Through this process hospitals are able to divert thousands of pounds of medical waste from landfills and to redirect substantial financial resources to patient care quality initiatives.  1,700 hospitals and surgery centers in the U.S., including most of the medical facilities recognized annually by U.S. News & World Report as the top hospitals in America, now utilize this service.   In 2007, these facilities and their patients saved in excess of $100 million dollars in supply expenses and diverted 3.4 million pounds of waste from landfills. The process, however, does not operate at 100% efficiency.  In many cases, instruments may be damaged, and require replacement parts, which are not readily available from the original equipment manufacturer, requiring them to be discarded as opposed to being reconditioned.  Herein lies the opportunity to improve the percentage of devices that can be reprocessed by reverse engineering and manufacturing replacements for those components that often arrive broken or damaged when collected for re-processing. Dan Perreault of NeoMetrix Technologies, in Lake Mary FL, was contacted by a leading firm in this industry with this idea.  NeoMetrix specializes in non-contact laser scanning and reverse engineering, and was able to assist Don in developing 3D CAD (computer aided design) models for the required parts.   The engineers at NeoMetrix were sent several of the most critical parts needing Laser Scanning and Reverse Engineering. The laser scanning process is accurate to 40 microns, producing a data set which is virtually an exact copy of the original part.  Rapidform XOR software is then used to process this data into a fully parametric 3D CAD model suitable for use in CNC (computer numerically controlled) machining. The additional benefit of this process is that the engineers at Ascent were able to study the original design of the parts that often fail so that they can understand why the failure was occurring.  This allowed them to develop small design changes which made the final replacement part superior to the original OEM part, thereby reducing the likelihood of repeat failure, and further extending the lifespan of the reconditioned and remanufactured parts while remaining in compliance with regulatory requirements for the reprocessed devices. The final CAD data was then used to CNC machine new molds and tooling so that Ascent could begin to manufacture the required parts. With spare parts now readily available for key components, the reprocessing facility is able to greatly increase the percentage of devices that it is able to recondition and remanufacture for resale back to America’s hospitals.  Another benefit of this process is that the engineers  were able to study the original design of the parts that often fail so that they can better understand the root cause for failure modes of the original parts.  This understanding allowed for the development of small design changes which made the final replacement part superior to the original OEM part. The Reverse Engineering process helped reduce the likelihood of repeat failure, and further extending the lifespan of the reconditioned and remanufactured parts.  This now allows Ascent to have readily available spare parts for key components, assisting in a high rate of reconditioned parts, resulting in not only higher profits but reducing the amount of landfill waste from unused components. NeoMetrix Technologies, Inc. (www.3dscanningservices.net)  is a leading provider of solutions for rapid product development throughout the southeastern United States, focusing on 3D laser scanning, reverse engineering and rapid prototyping.  NeoMetrix is also a top reseller for Konica-Minolta Sensing America, Objet Geometries and Rapidform Software.