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Overcoming the post-processing barriers for 3D-printed medical models

Virendra Kumar Verma (Department of Operations and Supply Chain Management, National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai, India)
Sachin S. Kamble (Department of Strategy (Operations and SCM), EDHEC Business School, Nice, France)
L. Ganapathy (Department of Operations and Supply Chain Management, National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai, India)
Pradeep Kumar Tarei (Department of Operations and Information Technology, ICFAI Business School, Hyderabad, India)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 13 July 2022

Issue publication date: 2 January 2023




The purpose of this study is to identify, analyse and model the post-processing barriers of 3D-printed medical models (3DPMM) printed by fused deposition modelling to overcome these barriers for improved operational efficiency in the Indian context.


The methodology used interpretive structural modelling (ISM), cross-impact matrix multiplication applied to classification (MICMAC) analysis and decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL) to understand the hierarchical and contextual relations among the barriers of the post-processing.


A total of 11 post-processing barriers were identified in this study using ISM, literature review and experts’ input. The MICMAC analysis identified support material removal, surface finishing, cleaning, inspection and issues with quality consistency as significant driving barriers for post-processing. MICMAC also identified linkage barriers as well as dependent barriers. The ISM digraph model was developed using a final reachability matrix, which would help practitioners specifically tackle post-processing barriers. Further, the DEMATEL method allows practitioners to emphasize the causal effects of post-processing barriers and guides them in overcoming these barriers.

Research limitations/implications

There may have been a few post-processing barriers that were overlooked by the Indian experts, which might have been important for other country’s perspective.

Practical implications

The presented ISM model and DEMATEL provide directions for operation managers in planning operational strategies for overcoming post-processing issues in the medical 3D-printing industry. Also, managers may formulate operational strategies based on the driving and dependence power of post-processing barriers as well as the causal effects relationships of the barriers.


This study contributes to identifying, analyzing and modelling the post-processing barriers of 3DPMM through a combined ISM and DEMATEL methodology, which has not yet been reviewed. This study also contributes to decision makers developing suitable strategies to overcome the post-processing barriers for improved operational efficiency.



Conflict of interest. The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


Verma, V.K., Kamble, S.S., Ganapathy, L. and Tarei, P.K. (2023), "Overcoming the post-processing barriers for 3D-printed medical models", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 33-49.



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