Grinding Into the Medical Industry

Closeup of grinding process

Medical device manufacturers have long relied on metal components to produce long-lasting and high-performing equipment. Valued for their durability and ability to conduct electricity and heat, metal components form parts included in a wide range of medical instruments, from pacemakers to CAT scan machines.

Metal offers a host of benefits that make it an excellent choice for medical manufacturers, including its:

  • Nontoxicity
  • Biocompatibility
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Mechanical task capabilities

Metalworkers must perform a number of delicate tasks to achieve optimal performance with their metals without harming the products in which they’re incorporated. Recently, medical device manufacturers have been increasingly turning to metal grinding as a precise way to create such products.

The Need for Precision

Medical instruments must be designed to tight tolerances in order to perform well in their intended applications. Components with coarse surfaces, protrusions, or incorrect dimensions could end up causing more problems than they solve; precise metal fabrication techniques are essential to effective medical equipment.

Precision is especially important as medical instruments continue to shrink in size. Medical manufacturers are now designing subdermal implants to treat epilepsy, in utero fetal implants to monitor womb health, and “smart” surgical tools that can target specific types of tissue during microsurgical procedures. These tiny devices require metal casings and components designed exactly to product specifications.

The Grinding Difference

Metal grinding has improved substantially in the last few years, allowing medical device manufacturers to develop products to precise specifications. Grinding’s precision, quality, and consistency have made it the technique of choice for medical device manufacturers.

Grinding affords fabricators a level of geometric accuracy and finish quality that other metalworking methods can’t achieve; turning, milling, and handwork cannot match the level of consistency required.

Grinding machines can now create parts with much smaller diameters than previously possible.

Allowing for more intricate device, tool, and component configurations, grinding can create:

  • Steps
  • Tapers
  • Ball ends
  • Back tapers
  • Tight corner radii
  • Paddles
  • Flats

The grinding process also helps manufacturers avoid costly downtime. Because it operates via relatively simple processes, grinding incurs fewer maintenance delays or malfunctions than other metalworking techniques. It’s also safer than other processes, as it operates using precision instruments that are far removed from human workers. 

Image Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek / Shutterstock.com

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