In this episode, we sit down with President of ARCH Additive, a leader for Additive Manufacturing for Orthopedic Implants, Brian McLaughlin. We chat through Brian's journey in the industry and how he got hooked the first time he saw an orthopedic leg. His path from, lasers and optics, to additive is an interesting one.
You can read the transcript or listen to the full episode below.
Hi everyone, and welcome back to PowderHeads, a Carpenter Additive podcast. With each episode of PowderHeads, we bring you the minds of industry experts and delve into topics that are defining how additive manufacturing is making an impact on our world. Today, Carpenter Technology's Strategic Business Developers, Gaurav Lalwani and Brent Marini, sit down with Brian McLaughlin, president at ARCH Additive, a leading additive manufacturing supplier of orthopedic implants. Brian outlines his own journey in the industry and how he got hooked the first time he saw an orthopedic leg. His path from lasers and optics to additive is an interesting one. Thanks for listening and enjoy the conversation.
Gaurav Lalwani (00:52):
Welcome listeners. Uh, today we have Brian McLaughlin. He is the president of Arch Additive, formerly, uh, the founder of Amplifier Surgical. Amplify a Hey, Brian.
Brian McLaughlin (01:05):
Hello. Good to, uh, good to catch up again. Uh, thanks for having me.
Gaurav Lalwani (01:09):
And then we also have Brent on the call. Brent is the Director of Medical Markets for Carpenter Technology. Uh, hey, Brent. How are you?
Brent Marini (01:20):
I'm good. Gaurav, I'm glad to, uh, get a chance to talk with Brian again and, uh, look forward to the discussion.
Gaurav Lalwani (01:27):
All right. So before we begin, Brian, uh, would you briefly introduce yourself? <laugh>? Not that you need any introduction, but just for our audience,
Brian McLaughlin (01:37):
Uh, Gaurav. Thanks. Uh, yeah, sometimes my introductions could be a little lengthy, so I'll try to keep this one a little, a little more brief. Um, you know, I'm, I'm fortunate to be working in a field that I'm passionate about. I love orthopedics. Um, you know, kind of found my way there many years ago. I actually started my undergraduate, uh, way back when in civil engineering. Quickly realized that wasn't my world. Um, and I went to the University of Vermont and, and quickly, uh, found a program that was relatively new. It was biomedical engineering, um mm-hmm. <affirmative>. It's really more mechanical focused, right? So orthopedics was, was really the focus. And University of Vermont also has a medical school, so was able to do some crossover with some of the programs there, which is pretty amazing. Uh, one of the moments that I remember, and you know, I've mentioned this in some of our past podcasts, was, uh, you know, one of my visiting professors was doing some research work, and he invited me up and, you know, as I walk into the lab, this is at the staffer building, you know, part of medical school up at uvm.
Brian McLaughlin (02:35):
And so I walk in, you know, I see a human leg, you know, attached to really kind of a jig and pulley system, you know, off bench <laugh>, you know, it was just bone, bone muscle and soft tissue. Right? He had a pizo electric sensor in the back of the kneecap. He had the quad, uh, quadricep muscle wrapped around on itself, and then attached to, uh, a pulley with weights on it, which I, I thought was, when I looked at it, I was just like, oh, that's so awesome. <laugh> Right. You know, just, just drew me right in. And of course, he proceeded to say, oh, go check the fridge and if you world in work, in the world orthopedics deal with cadaver labs, and so on, so forth. It was full of body parts. So it was quite an experience, you know, when, you know, kind of going through college and, and, you know, I actually didn't start working in orthopedics right.
Brian McLaughlin (03:25):
Outta school. Um huh. But the, the funny part is, I did work in lasers and optics, right? And we were laying down micron level, uh, laser beams to aate aluminum at the time for the printing press industry, right? You know, it's funny to fast forward, fast forward over 20 years, and what are we doing to titanium? We are melting it with lasers, right? Iode lasers, right? And so, uh, there are people in the industry that I'm familiar with from those days, coherent in particular. They've been around for a long time, uh, et cetera, that actually provide lasers to, to a lot of the laser, uh, laser companies, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, but, uh, you know, it's interesting. It took me a little while to actually kind of get into orthopedics, uh, you know, early in my career. Uh, but one thing that pulled me back in again, was a personal experience.
Brian McLaughlin (04:13):
I blew my ACL playing soccer, right? That pulled me back. I was fascinated. Uhhuh finally, you know, I was living in Maine at the time, you know, I finally had to get outta Maine to really pursue it. So I left, uh, went to Connecticut, actually joined Orchid, uh, orthopedic Solutions at the time. And it was with Orchid Design, right? Um, you know, that was a few years, you know, did that actually, uh, you know, on the heels of that, I was kind of at a turning point in my career. I'm either gonna just kind of go be a, you know, designer slash biz dev person for maybe design firms or, you know, I kind of took a step back and said, what do I wanna do with my life? Right? And yeah, you know, I think very entrepreneurial, you know, various, uh, uh, sets of skills, capabilities, you know, kind of vision, et cetera. And, you know, I really wanted my own company. So, you know, it was at that point where I said, well, I need clinical experience that if I think I'm gonna be successful in that role. And I turned into an orthopedic sales rep. Right.
Gaurav Lalwani (05:11):
Okay. So you did that after Orchid?
Brian McLaughlin (05:14):
Yeah. Yeah. I was a, I was an orthopedic sales rep in Connecticut, uh, for a number of years. Um, and that was a great experience. I mean, I didn't really make any money, cuz it takes about two years to get really established in your industry as a rep. And it was right at the heat, really, right as I was about to turn the corner to finally make money in that. Uh, I got pulled back into the, uh, startup world for, for next line manufacturing, which I ended up turning into Xometry, right?
Gaurav Lalwani (05:43):
Yeah. Yep, yep,
Brian McLaughlin (05:45):
Yep, yep. So, and then I quickly transitioned from there cuz they, they really weren't medically focused, uh, to, you know, uh, Santo technology had partnered with R Cam, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And they were looking for someone to kind of lead that unit. And I just happened to be talking at the right time. I was in, I was right now, 15 minutes down the road. So I ended up taking that role, right? And then, you know, helped launch the Q 10 into the US plot you into the US market, uh, got a lot of firsts. You, we got the first five NK in that. We got a bunch of five, 10 Ks after that. It was a challenge, right? The Q 10 was the third generation RM technology that was really, really developed in conjunction with a large orthopedic oem mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but it wasn't, you know, it didn't come outta the gate working perfectly as most technologies don't, you know, it took a lot of work to kind of get it up, up to speed.
Brian McLaughlin (06:35):
So really what the Q 10 plus is nowadays is, is really the reflection of all the work that was put into it. You know, so credit, you know, Sweden, Sweden and, and the team over there to, and, you know, at the time to, to really get it to a point where it's really a top-notch, uh, platform. Um, from there I kind of moved on pretty quickly. I moved, well, I'd say quickly it was a couple, a few years, right? I moved on to Additive Orthopedics, which is company that I had, you know, I wrote the deck for, um, yep. Which was orthopedic focused, uh, you know, implant company focused on foot and ankle market initially wasn't planned to be focused on the foot and ankle market. That's just kind of where we landed. Um,
Gaurav Lalwani (07:10):
So what was that, what initially then, if I may ask, if I may ask, what was the, what was the focus for Additive Industries initially?
Brian McLaughlin (07:17):
So, additive Orthopedics was gonna be that really just a, a really kind of a platform company to leverage additive manufacturing for Okay. Orthopedic implants, right?
Gaurav Lalwani (07:27):
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Brian McLaughlin (07:29):
The market directed us <laugh> towards foot and ankle. Um, interesting. And also that was a lot of the, you know, the background, my background, I had worked a lot in extremities when I was an orthopedic sales rep. Uh, another gentleman that had kind of been part of the company, he, he came out of a foot ankle company as well. So, you know, we kind of put ourselves in that market as well, based on our experience. Um, but we knew that, you know, I knew that additive manufacturing was gonna impact, impact the orthopedic industry in a very profound way, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, and we're still very much in the early stages of that. Um, but it, it's, it's, it's still still very there, very much there and very, very relevant. Yeah.
Brian McLaughlin (08:11):
But it was right around then when I realized that any, if you wanna be truly successful in the world of orthopedics and leverage additive manufacturing given the supply chain at the time, and I probably can still make the argument even today, to be successful with additive manufacturing, you probably want to vertically integrate, right? And build up your own knowledge and experience around that. So that was my goal with that company, was to vertically integrate, um, but didn't end up becoming a reality. And that's kind of when I decided to leave and start amplify actually. Um, cuz I thought the industry needed that, um, right. Thought the industry needed someone with clinical background, engineering background design background, manufacturing background, which I kinda all brought to the table, um, with this land towards, you know, the clinical right. Leveraging additive, why do you use additive? I I can make it, you know, we can get get into that here in a few minutes as to the clinical relevance rather than just the efficiencies and just, you know, kind of a new enabling technology, right? There's a, there's a true when you, when you walk around, I just came from North American Spine Society last week, and when you walk around the floor, I can look at certain spine devices and say, it, it, it's, it's an additive device for the sake of being additive, not for the sake of clinical
Gaurav Lalwani (09:28):
<laugh> right there, <laugh>.
Brian McLaughlin (09:33):
And, and so the journey with Amplify was on, you know, and, and we were able to raise some money. It was very much a, a non, uh, um, you know, for startups as it's hard enough as a startup as it is, right? Yeah. Um, and now we're a startup that was focused on really design and manufacturing, which I don't, in that world, you don't have your own product, right? Carpenters were very familiar guys operate in the same space, but,
Gaurav Lalwani (10:01):
Brian McLaughlin (10:01):
Um, and, and so, you know, a lot of, most companies that get investment have their own ip, have their own product, have their own widget, right? We didn't have any of that. We just had the knowledge and experience in the market that we knew to go after. Right. You know, and then a
Gaurav Lalwani (10:15):
Lot of our, we knew the space. Yep.
Brian McLaughlin (10:17):
Yeah. We knew the space, but our investment went to capital expenditure, which again, very unusual in the world for startups, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, you know, in, in a world that's really difficult to get going anyways, we were successful in launching, uh, amplify. Uh, and now fast forward, you know, really two and a half years from the date of our funding, we got the letter of intent. Right. Which is kind of insane. <laugh>
Gaurav Lalwani (10:43):
<laugh>, um, things move quick in the out world. Brian
Brian McLaughlin (10:47):
<laugh>. They they do. You're absolutely right. You know, it is funny, I go back in time and, and you know, when I look at my original deck for Amplify, um mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, you have, obviously we're raising money, so you have to kind of define the potential exits that you have or potential exit opportunities, right? And I had three, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> first one was, um, to an implant company like an oem, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, the second possible exit was just pure financial, maybe private equity comes in and, and scoops up and rolls you into something else. Yeah. Or an existing contract manufacturing organization. Well,
Gaurav Lalwani (11:20):
<laugh> Yeah. You know, there you go. There you go. There
Brian McLaughlin (11:24):
You go. I can tell you, we talked, we talked with just about everybody though, because you know, the world for additive manufacturing, it's difficult to, to think that you're gonna make an investment, but you're not gonna see, start to see your return on investment probably for two years, which is pretty much the world for product manufacturing, right?
Gaurav Lalwani (11:41):
Yeah. Yeah. It's
Brian McLaughlin (11:42):
Hard. Yeah. You know, especially when you're a private equity back organization, you know, you're in growth mode, your poor business is secondary manufacturing. It's a difficult thing to say, we're gonna go down that, that hunt for arch because they sold their own products as opposed to religious services. Right. Uh, manufacturing services. So, you know, it's a little different, but good mentor has a great, great, uh, um, reputation in the industry for really top-notch product. So, you know, great opportunity to pull it within the Arch family. So, um, yeah. I mean, so far so good. You know, I think, uh, you know, Paul Bark, who's, who's really, he's my, my supervisor, he's the president of Medical Solutions, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative>, just someone who's very committed to the space, making sure that we're doing Yeah. Right. By our customers, which is always been our thing. Anyways, you know, still the Amplify additive websites still up. Right? <laugh> and, and, and we haven't taken it down yet. And, you know, from day one, you know, we spoke to quality, right?
Gaurav Lalwani (12:38):
Brian McLaughlin (12:38):
We spoke to accountability, transparency, right? Wow. Integrity, really. That's, that's who we are to our corn. You know, I, I think I've left a good impression, I think across the, you know, even though I've had a relatively, you know, kind of short extent where I've ever stayed. Cause I've had this vision of what I wanted to do. And, and when I say that's always been pretty focused on, you know, kind of what nexts your growth mode, right? Um, and, uh, you know, I think the reputation is, is, is solid. You know, that's the goal, right? Make sure that you, you know, leave a lasting mark. And, and, and, you know, I think this is very much still in process, right? With the industry, with additive and, and hopefully what we're able to do. I'm still relatively young when I say that. I'm, you know, again, not 50 yet, <laugh>, <laugh>, albeit, you know, the startup world certainly adds gray hair.
Brian McLaughlin (13:25):
There's no question about that, right? It's a journey, right? It's not, it's not a destination, it's a journey. And I think that's the best part of this is that, you know, I want to continue to learn and grow. Um, you know, obviously the team here has growning this year, right? We're still a small, uh, you know, relatively nimble team. We're gonna add people over the next, you know, few months, you know, is the goal. Really continue to grow and, and add to the capabilities to the team. Um, you know, we're not just ebm, right? Where EBM plus laser, which was always the vision,
Gaurav Lalwani (13:56):
Brian McLaughlin (13:58):
And furthermore, we, you know, we're looking at, you know, you know, things that will take us to the next level with regards to inspection and, and overall, you know, confidence level with, in the world of additive manufacturing, namely, you know, CT and xr, you know, X-ray capabilities that's really being talked about is really kind of a, really should be the standard for additive manufacturing anyways. But they're not inexpensive systems, so you really need to justify it, right? So, right,
Speaker 6 (14:25):
Brian McLaughlin (14:26):
You know, so we're committed to the future. We're committed to growing this mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, and you know, continuing to, uh, to make sure we're still enjoying it at the same time.
Gaurav Lalwani (14:34):
Yeah. Yeah. So let me, let me build up that, Brian. Um, so, you know, we are talking about par, uh, now with the unique capability of an electron beam system and laser system, you know? Right. In addition to know a of, I've mentioned, uh, I mean, do you see that as a trend in industry going forward? Where, you know, one technology is either going to win over the other, or you see a place where majority of the manufacturers would have multiple options, uh, that they would use for, you know, depending on what product and what application, uh, seems fit, where do you think this goes?
Brian McLaughlin (15:16):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>? Yeah. It's a great question, Gora, because I think there's the ideal
Gaurav Lalwani (15:22):
World and there's
Brian McLaughlin (15:23):
Gaurav Lalwani (15:23):
Brian McLaughlin (15:24):
Gaurav Lalwani (15:24):
Brian McLaughlin (15:25):
I mean, the reality is it's hard to get going in one particular technology, nevermind two or three or four, right? I mean, it's, it's challenging to find the right people to be able to, you know, operate those systems and nevermind the systems help with what else, right? There's a lot of, what else when it comes to additive manufacturing, which is why, you know, I can talk to my background is really unique. It's very strong in design, right? Very strong in software, strong, stronger applications. Right? Right, right. Uh, then you kind of add in, you did mention a couple decades worth of additive manufacturing experience. Well, you, you're, you're not wrong there.
Gaurav Lalwani (16:01):
Yeah. Yeah. So let me, let me build of that, Brian. Uh, so, you know, we are talking about arch, uh, now with the unique capability of an electron beam system and a laser system, you know, both offerings under one roof, right? In addition to, you know, a lot of value added offerings that you just sort of mentioned, uh, I mean, do you see that as a trend in the general industry going forward? Where, you know, one technology is either going to win over the other, or you see a place where majority of the manufacturers would have multiple options, uh, that they would use for, you know, depending on what product and what application, uh, seems fit, where do you think this, this goes
Brian McLaughlin (16:44):
Really, you know, underneath all of this was really the idea of a manufacturing, really the metal systems, more industrialized systems that were continuing to be worked on, continuing to kind of start to take a foothold, et cetera. Right? So I think those are, those are always, you know, being worked on. And obviously, you know, EOS was one of the companies that really pioneered the space. Um, you know, and then you had a bunch of other companies come and come along from 3D systems layer wise if you will, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> 3D systems, obviously they had, they had, you know, gone with some other technology wasn't as, as, as good as I think they expected at the time. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, you know, those Phoenix machines we had actually next line manufacturing early on, they were pretty good with cobalt, chro, and stainless steel and titanium at the time. So mm-hmm. <affirmative> to be successful in the world for medical, you needed titanium. So, you know, I think you can go into all the different companies and different technologies, you know, wow. The one
Gaurav Lalwani (17:38):
Brian McLaughlin (17:39):
One, you know, piece that you have to look at is really the people behind it, right? Who's driving it, who's supporting it, right? Who is the knowledge to, you know, to, to run the software, to understand the software, you know, how it works with a certain platform mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Cause it's different on every platform, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, uh, et cetera. And, and obviously there have been acquisitions along the way. So, you know, NETAP is, you know, got acquired by Autodesk and, you know, and, and you know, they're just a lot of acquisitions that you also have to pay attention to. Cuz how does that impact, uh, your ability to maybe continue to do what you were doing, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, and or, or you have to adapt and change. And I think that's the world in which we, you have to be very adaptable. You have to learn quickly mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? Um, you have to understand that, that, that, you know, the, uh, it's gonna hit the fan at some point and you gotta be able to troubleshoot your way through that, because I don't care who you are or what machine you're running on Yeah. It's gonna hit the fan at some point.
Gaurav Lalwani (18:41):
Brian McLaughlin (18:42):
And you need to, you need to be nimble enough and knowledgeable enough to be able to address that at that time so you can kind of get it back going and, and keep rolling. Um, so, you know, it's, it's,
Gaurav Lalwani (18:53):
Let me, let's interest market. Yeah. Let me interject, Brian, because you know, this is, I think this is the, the right time. And I wanna ask you this question. So, you know, you're talking about a lot of technologies, you're talking about, you know, uh, the general state of the industry, you know, uh, things like that. What I wanted to get your perspective on, uh, was, you know, according to you, because you, you, you've been doing this for a long time and you've seen the technology really evolve, uh, according to you, you know, what are the, what are maybe what are maybe the top three challenges or unmet needs of the additive industry as such right now? Because, you know, I see from an application standpoint, you know, I see use cases, uh, in, you know, a lot of different areas. I see, you know, new technologies, new printing platforms being developed. I see new material systems being developed, but, you know, according to you, from your experience mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what's one or two things that, you know, if we are able to figure out as an industry in general, would really, you know, make a leap forward for, for production, for technology?
Brian McLaughlin (20:02):
That is a great question. And, and it's not the first time I've heard that question. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that comes up a lot. Yep. Yep. Um, from, you know, and, and obviously this land here is, we're focused on medical really, I'm not gonna get into, you know, the markets like aerospace or automotive, although I do.
Gaurav Lalwani (20:19):
So let me, let me interject here. Brian, let me interject, Brian, because you know, this is, I think this is the, the right time. And I wanna ask you this question. So, you know, you're talking about a lot of technologies. You're talking about, you know, uh, the general state of the industry, you know, uh, and things like that. Uh, what I wanted to get your perspective on, uh, was, you know, according to you, because you, you've, you've been doing this for a long time, right? And you've seen the technology really evolve, uh, according to you, you know, what are the, what are maybe what are maybe the top three challenges or unmet needs of the additive industry as such right now? Because, you know, I see from an application standpoint, you know, I see use cases, uh, in, you know, in a lot of different areas. I see, you know, new technologies, new printing platforms being developed. I see new material systems being developed. But, you know, according to you from your experience, what's one or two things that, you know, if we are able to figure out as an industry in general, uh, would really, you know, make a leap forward, uh, for, for production for technology,
Brian McLaughlin (21:28):
Right? You can't, you know, manufacturing or traditional manufacturing, you can have operators standing in machines who can operate a machine. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you can have manufacturing engineers who can generate cnc, right? You know, uh, you're, you're, you know, g code using master camera camera or whatever software you're use, and that just the design as Donna, you're doing it. There's enough knowledge around traditional manufacturing, you know, your limitations, uh, because that's what we learned in college, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, and I mean, that technology's been around for what, 40, 50 years, right? So, you know, we're additive is different where it's so software driven and so very application specific. You really need that knowledge up front in order to be able to be successful with your additive programs, right?
Gaurav Lalwani (22:15):
Brian McLaughlin (22:17):
So that's a, that's a significant difference in that, you know, how do you develop that application mindset for your specific industry in particular medical and within medical, it's orthopedics, so you have to have clinical knowledge about how you apply it and what area of the body and, and for what reason, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, you know, that that's a category in itself, <laugh>, right? And then, and then you add on top of that, you know, which technology any have to use electron beam or laser. And I say that because there's your two primary powdered fusion technologies. So I'm not gonna get into, you know, any other, uh, you know, technology, you know, um mm-hmm. <affirmative> binder jet is not, we don't deal with binder jet for what we do. Right. That's just not a technology where we're getting probably you ever get into for implants, you know, and probably maybe in my career span, maybe, but, but not really for things that have bone and growth, right? Yep. Um, and, uh, that, that's a point of argument. I'm sure we'll get <laugh> cause of that. Had to argue that point in the past,
Gaurav Lalwani (23:13):
I've heard. Yeah, I've heard, I've heard, I've heard, you know, pros and cons in buying the sets, right? So, um, yeah. It's an ever ending debate.
Brian McLaughlin (23:23):
No doubt. No doubt. Um,
Brent Marini (23:26):
Brian, I just, you touched on applications knowledge. I think that's, that's critical, right? And I know you just mentioned NA earlier when you were walking around, was there any application or implant or instrument that popped out in your mind that said, Hey, we really could advance it using additive manufacturing? Or is there another application that nobody's explored yet or that needs more exploration, uh, to utilize the technology?
Brian McLaughlin (23:53):
Hmm. That's a great question. I think, you know, the, the tough part about when I walked the floor, you gotta realize at one point I probably had, you know, 95% of, you know, spine implants that are 3D printed across my desk at some point, right? <laugh>. So, you know, is it just happened to the right time
Brent Marini (24:11):
Or the right at all? So if it's new and exciting for you, it's gotta be, you know, something unexplored, right? You've seen it all. So that's <laugh>.
Brian McLaughlin (24:19):
Well, I'd like to, I like to hope I, I haven't seen it all. I've seen a lot, right? Um, but yep. You know, there's a lot with expandable cages right now, you know, I think some of it's incremental is what we're seeing, right? Um, you know, I think if you're a spying company and, and you don't have a 3D cage, right? You're certainly behind the times, you know, they're leveraging additive.
Gaurav Lalwani (24:40):
I've heard Yeah, I've heard, I've heard, I've heard, you know, pros and cons of buying the jet, right? So, uh, yeah, that it's, it's an never ending debate.
Brian McLaughlin (24:50):
Clients buying. That's why I say when I walk the floor at nasa, I look around me and I think there, there are people trying to get into the game that aren't actually looking at why additive is a, is a game changer, right? They're just looking at it as, I'm gonna make a 3D printed titanium cage cuz I need to, right? Not as a, this is a, this is truly better clinically for the patient, right? I get better visualization, I get better, you know, uh, uh, you know, attachment, uh, at the end plates and therefore, you know, much better the overall integration, um, you know, et cetera. And it's the only way to do certain designs, but I'm just, it's, it's, I'd say when I walk the floor, I'm like, I see things and I just kind of shake my head. I, I, you know, it it some of the designs that are out there and they're there for the sake of being additive, not really for what it's for and drives me a little bit crazy.
Brian McLaughlin (25:40):
Um, and, but it kind is what it is. It's a market. Everybody wants to adopt it and use it. And, and there's a lot of marketing that's built into this as you, as we all know on this call, right? Yeah. Um, and, uh, and so and so forth. So, I mean, that's, you know, and I can, I can say that across the entirety of the industry too. Like there are certain designs that are really good and certain ones you're like, eh, you know, it's okay. You know, I think I could do more with it. I don't want to just do the same, right? Umhmm <affirmative>, I did have a years ago I had a project where, you know, a company said, we would just want to just recreate this, but use additive. And that's perhaps the worst possible way to use additive
Brent Marini (26:16):
<laugh>. You don't see, so you don't see it like glaring misses where the technology should or could be used that isn't currently being adopted. It's more about people are forcing a, um, I guess a square peg into a round hole and just utilizing additive to use additive.
Brian McLaughlin (26:36):
Brian McLaughlin (26:37):
Think, no, I think there are,
Brian McLaughlin (26:41):
Yeah. No, there are certain companies using it the right way. There's, I'm not gonna say there aren't, and it's not a square peg in a round hole. It's the right technology for the right indication at the end of the day, but I think it could just be done better. Um, you know, I think some of the marketing, you know, kind of be, can be deceiving with regards to some of the, you know what it really is, right? Because if you look at research and data from universities, you know, there, there are specific reasons why you aren't designed certain things in a certain way, right? Um, and that's kind of where I'm coming from, you know, as opposed to just like, you know, you just print a grid and you say, Ooh, wow. And you give it a fancy name and there you go, right? That's not, to me, that's not the best use of the technology.
Brian McLaughlin (27:17):
It's still an additive cage. It's still titanium, we'll probably still get bone fusion, right? Yep. Um, you know, you get to throw your biologics in there and make, you know, double your money, and that's just the industry. So that's <laugh>. It is what it is. You know, I think when I think of the global opportunity within orthopedics and additive, I mean, we're, we're, we're at the early adopter stage still, right? I think, you know, software hasn't caught up yet. I mean, you know, just, just getting the platform stable, <laugh>, you know, just trying to educate an industry of what's possible, right? You know, a lot of this is somewhat incremental, albeit, you know, it's enabling technology. But when you think of where we've kind of gone, we've gone titanium peak, peak tie now to titanium. Yeah. I mean, it's just the right path. It's the right time for it. Um, there's more we can do. There's no doubt about it. Right? I think the
Gaurav Lalwani (28:03):
Idea, because everyone wants, because everyone wants an additive product. Yeah.
Brian McLaughlin (28:08):
That was gonna come up in this discussion, uh, before we get there, you know, I think the other thing that I think the industry needs kind of, if I kind of back up to the original question, you know, when I talk to a lot of the technology companies, um, I think EOS did a really good job early on where they had like a medical group and they had an aerospace group, right? So really segmenting within your company, this would be a technology company, having that application specific group, I think that helps, right? Right. So, you know, whatever company, it may call it SLM or renshaw or Trump, or, I mean, I'm just throwing a bunch of laser companies out there, right? Um, you know, if you, if you really segmented your markets and really focused and you build that knowledge and experience around that segment, you have someone that's integrated and knowledgeable and works with the fta, right?
Brian McLaughlin (28:58):
To find out what they're working on, right? You've got someone that's going to, you know, the different, you know, A S T M meetings and seminars and, you know, uh, being part of the F 42 committee and so and so forth, and really be just stuck in with the technology, with the industry and what's going on. Like, every company should have a representative down there, every single one. And, and I don't see that, and that's disappointing. And, you know, I've dealt in and talked with a lot of 'em, and, you know, very few have actually taken that path, right? And that doesn't help. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think it slows down because they're not, it shows that they're not necessarily committed to that. They're kind of, it's, they're being opportunistic in the, in, in, you know, know what might come along, right? As opposed to being a hundred, you know, saying, Nope, this is the market we're in, we're gonna focus on it, and this is where we live. Right? And I, I get it, because a lot of these companies might be public, you know, they're, they're, you know, they're trying to figure out another exit for themselves as well. So, I mean, you know, yep. Been there, seen a lot of it, et cetera. But the right way to go about it is to really say, these are the markets we're in. Let's build the teams around those markets. Let's
Gaurav Lalwani (30:06):
Be more focused
Brian McLaughlin (30:08):
Be more focused, be the experts on our technology within that market, whether it's on your iq, oq, pq, and you come and you work with the people who buy your machine and you help them and you help educate them, and you've got training programs, you put a person on site, right? I mean, that's how we, that's how R Cam did it early on. You know, my partner in crime in the early days, you know, he was from Sweden and he was put in Shelton, Connecticut, which what a departure of life in general, <laugh>, right? Um, but, but these
Gaurav Lalwani (30:37):
Are really good. But yeah. But these are really, really good points, right. You know, uh, I think, uh, you know, just being more focused and really understanding and becoming the experts in your area of interest is something that can add a lot of value, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I think, uh, I think that's, that's probably the right way of, uh, going about doing things on that north. And, uh, I, I think we are at time. Uh, I appreciate, you know, you taking the time out and speaking to us today. Uh, I think we may right, you know, end up having you back on the show, uh, in the future. But, uh, but for today, uh, you know, I appreciate all the wisdom that you've shared with us, all your experiences, uh, and I wish you all, all the way best for your success. Yep.
Brian McLaughlin (31:26):
Gore, thank you. Love to come back on in the future. And, and maybe that, that could be a segment on point of care manufacturing, right? I mean, <laugh>
Brian McLaughlin (31:34):
That's a whole talk, that's all talk in itself. But listen, I appreciate Yeah, I appreciate this. You know, we've known each other for quite a while now. Um, and, uh, you know, I think those who are truly committed to it, and like, I'm gonna be around for a while, right? I, I enjoy the technology. It's fun. It's a lot of work, right? Um, I've had a lot of late nights, a lot of weekend.
Gaurav Lalwani (32:04):
Yeah. But these are really good. But yeah. But these are really, really good points, right? You know, uh, I think, uh, you know, just being more focused and really understanding and becoming the experts in your area of interest is something that can add a lot of value, right? And I think, uh, I think that's, that's probably the right way of, uh, of going about doing things. On that note, Brian, uh, I, I think we are outta time. Uh, I appreciate, you know, you taking the time out and speaking to us today. Uh, I think we may, you
Gaurav Lalwani (32:38):
Know, know end up having you back on the show, uh, in the future, but, uh, but for today, uh, you know, I appreciate all the wisdom that you've shared with us, all your experiences, uh, and I wish you all the, all the very best, uh, for your success.
Thanks very much to Brian McLaughlin for joining us on PowderHeads. A comprehensive background in design combined with software and applications very much qualifies him as a quintessential powder head. If you have questions or comments about what we discussed in this podcast, send them to Powderheads@carpenteradditive.com or visit our podcast page at www.carpenteradditive.com/powderheads. We continue to build an archive of all of our interviews there, as well as additional material that provides inside your perspective on modern day additive manufacturing. PowderHeads is managed by Carpenter Additive and its parent company Carpenter Technology, a global leader in specialty alloys for over 130 years. Our goal is to help customers solve their most challenging material and process problems. Learn more at www.carpentertechnology.com. Thanks again for listening and keep building.
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