Background The combination of computer-aided-design (CAD), digital image processing techniques and finite element method (FEM) has been successfully employed to create the customized distal condyle implants in human joints during arthroplasty surgery when the manufacturing method is incremental sheet forming (ISF) technique. However, due to the high time of process in the FEM analysing of human joints, finding the optimum material thickness with respect to the joint cartilage has been neglected.
Objectives To apply a numerical investigation based on the FEM to predict and propose the sheet metal thickness for joint cartilage in the ISF process in a timely method for the human knee as a case study.
Methods To reduce the expense of experiments and save the time of production, a numerical investigation method based on FEM is designed for the ISF. The user subroutine is employed to navigate the tool motion and material behaviour for reducing the time of simulation in the analysing tool. Hence, the sequence of FEM applied was as follow. 1) Create the solid model of the clamping system and sheet metal. 2) Choosing associated nodes together with Shell elements to increase the accuracy of the simulation and simplify the process. 3) Applying the specifications of every element. 4) Assign and render the material properties for sheet metal. 5) Apply the initial boundary conditions. 6) Assigning the asymmetric boundary conditions using the subroutine for time reduction purpose. 7) Apply the loads related to the complete FEM. Consequently, the proper thickness from MRI based on the previous study is sent to the CAD system for the mechanical and anatomical modification.
Sheet metal thickness and also material selection were based on the joint mechanical properties, shape and size. Therefore, by using the optimum pressure profile, the FEM can be performed to predict the sheet stretch and also shear failure to illuminate the optimum sheet thickness used in customized medical implants.
Results The result of this study is based on the validation of predicted sheet thickness with the real patient cartilage thickness. This result showed a good agreement with the hospital data (for cartilage thickness of ∼2.20mm) and simulation result (∼2.23mm for sheet thickness). It was not possible to divide the model into some sections and only analyse one particular part as a sample. Therefore, the time of calculation was 23 hours for FEM when a high-performance computer was used. Regarding the same issue, the mesh was not uniform distributed so the time of analysing for each particular location was not the similar and predictable. The shear failure happens on the edge of design and also some locations that a turning point existed.
Conclusions A numerical simulation is required to predict the material thickness replaced with the joint cartilage. Thus, the mathematical solution is investigated to predict the sheet thickness in the customized production process. Therefore, the result showed 98.5% similarity thickness of sheet metal with cartilage.
Moayedfar, M., Rani, A. A., & Kumar, D. (2015). An Integrated Manufacturing Method of Customized Medical Knee Implants Using Automated 3D Model Reconstruction and Prototyping Procedure. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 74 (Suppl 2), 623–623.
Acknowledgements The authors are thankful to the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia (MOHE) for supporting this research via FRGS/1/2014/TK01/UTP/02/8 research grant.
Disclosure of Interest None declared