The Central University of Technology’s (CUT) ground-breaking technology innovation in medical product deve-lopment gives hope to people with facial defects. The institution has given solace to a significant number of people, both adults and children, by developing mandible implants for them to help surgeons to plan complicated surge-ries for these patients. Some of the people were born with defects, while the defects of others were caused by accidents. On Wednesday (23/08) CUT’s management showcased its ground-breaking work in medical product development in mandible implants at a media breakfast in Bloemfontein.Patients who benefited were also present to bear testimony to CUT’s life-changing achievement through its 3D-printing medical product development. These implants are manufactured at the Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM), headed by Gerrie Booysen, who is the director at CRPM. He works with a team of men and women who are qualified in the field. The centre specialises in additive manufacturing. The CRPM was established in 1997 as a centre for commercial work and research and Booysen says since then major achievements have been scored, signifying the major role additive manufacturing has to play in medical product development. “The vital role that additive manufacturing has to play in medical product development became clear in 2013, when CUT first developed mandible implants to assist surgeons in planning complicated surgeries down to the finest detail,” he says.Booysen says CUT is proud in taking a lead in innovation that is changing the face of medical science in Africa. CUT can boast with approximately 65 successful surgeries. Dan Maritz, CUT spokesperson, says from 2015 to date, CUT, through the expertise of the CRPM, has assisted about 65 patients with the support of state and private hospitals and funding from partners such as the Fuchs Foundation. In addition, for medical breakthroughs in 2015, CUT received an award from the South African Research Chairs Initiative.Maritz says CUT, through the CRPM, is leading the strategic programme under the South African Additive Manufacturing Strategy.