Cleanliness and accuracy are two things the medical industry is well known for. It’s probably in our best interest it’s this way. This is especially true when it comes to the production and maintenance of medical equipment. CNC machines help power the entire industry by allowing the machining of various types of medical devices by using highly precise CNC mills.
CNC machining is responsible for the making of everything from simple tools and mobility equipment components to spinal fusion cages. Creating a single part can include using different CNC machines and operations, including cutting, grinding, etc.
Reaching a great surface finish is especially critical with internal implants, as any kind of rough edges or surfaces may require a replacement of the implant sooner rather than later.
Thus, medical machine shops have their bar set a little higher than the others on the market.
Contemporary technology like 5-axis machining combined with CNC grinding can ensure short cycle times while maintaining a quality good enough to meet these market needs.
Cannulas are those tubes that practitioners insert into the vein or body cavity to administer medicine, drain off fluid, or insert a surgical instrument.
The shape seems simple – a hollow tube with a sharp-angled end to allow for easy insertion. But the production of cannulas actually involves state-of-the-art CNC mills and electrical discharge machines. This combination can provide accuracy that guarantees safety when inserting the cannulas.
Bone plates are thin metal implants that correct broken bones. Using screws, the metal strips connect the two, or more, sides of a broken bone to create a steady environment for the healing process. These bone plates are usually CNC machined from titanium.
Prosthetic Hip Implants
Hip replacement is quite common nowadays, individuals with worn joints that are only wearing down benefit from this. Titanium alloys, aluminum, stainless steel, and non-metal materials are used in the machining process to create a fully-functioning replacement for the joint in order to relieve the pain.
Other metals used by machinists within the medical industry:
Stainless steel – Both AISI 304 and AISI 316 are common enough. 316/L, with its acidic resistance, proves especially welcome. 304 is probably the most common stainless steel out there because of its suitable properties for machining but treating it for hardening is not possible, setting it some limits.
Instead, 18-8 stainless steel makes the grade when hardening properties are sought.
Titanium – Both titanium grade 2 and 5 are common enough in the industry. Titanium provides an excellent strength-to-weight ratio, which is one of the primary requirements for many uses in the medical world.
Aluminium – Although also used in prosthetics, aluminium has become the number one material ahead of stainless steel and plastics when it comes to hospital tools because of its lightweight and good thermal conductivity.