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Precision Machining Enables Current & Future Medical Advances

The medical industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world. Companies hoping to bring their products to market must undergo rigorous trials to prove the safety and effectiveness of the product. Many medical devices must operate through hundreds, or even thousands of cycles without failing. Other devices require specialized engineering, to function, while implanted in the human body. Still, others must undergo repeated sterilization cycles, operate in wet environments, or withstand use under varying pressure conditions such as in a hyperbaric chamber. Medical devices must do all this safely and reliably, without fail. None of this would be possible without medical machining services and medical machining specialists dedicated to the creation of high quality precision components.

Materials

Medical devices and instruments are made from a variety of materials chosen for their hardness and durability, their ability to withstand sterilization and wet conditions, or their lack of reactivity with human tissue. Some components must withstand all this and more.

Advances in joint replacement require extremely complex shapes machined to exceedingly high tolerances. These parts are assembled into complex mechanisms that are permanently implanted in people. The components must have incredibly smooth surfaces free from burrs or striations that could cause problems with the joint moving smoothly or getting hung up after it is implanted.
The best way to ensure that parts fit together perfectly is to ensure identical components are precision machined to meet tough tolerances. EDM and CNC equipment is ideal for medical machining services because the computer program ensures that every part is identical, and both methods are capable of cutting hard materials such as stainless steel and titanium. EDM in particular excels at creating smooth surfaces, free from burrs or flaws that could impede smooth movement in medical devices such as artificial joints.

Tolerances

Surgical instruments are often individually crafted to fit the surgeon’s hands. The perfect fit helps ensure that the surgeon’s hands don’t tire as quickly, or cramp during a procedure. The intricate shapes and close tolerances necessary to create this perfect fit can only be achieved by medical machining specialists working with CNC or EDM equipment.

Much of the surgery done today uses lasers or robotic devices. These devices enable doctors to complete procedures that would have been impossible even a few years ago, and they successfully save thousands of lives; however, they require extremely small tools and tips to make the fine cuts necessary for vascular or brain surgery. These tools are often made of very hard materials, or designed in intricate shapes that make them suited for a single task. They are often very small, and even tiny variations in the surface or size can mean the difference between a success and an adverse outcome. Medical machining services companies are aware of the life saving impact of the products they create. As a result, they have an unwavering focus on providing high-quality products. They know that even a few mils difference in the diameter of an instrument can have an effect on the feel of the instrument in a doctor’s hand. As a result, they use EDM or CNS machinery and rely on medical machining specialists to create high quality parts.

Miniaturization

Medical devices such as heart monitors, defibrillators, or insulin pumps used to be large and ungainly. They were either too cumbersome to be portable, like defibrillators were, or like early insulin pumps and heart monitors, they were too ungainly for patients to carry with them. Today, because of miniaturization, that has changed. New electronic devices are small enough to be easily implanted in patients, but the advances don’t rely on electronics alone. To ensure that implanted products operate effectively, they must be housed in the right casings. Many of these implanted devices have external leads that connect outside the body for charging or to record measurements. The housings are precision machined components. The holes must be exactly the right size for leads to extend without allowing fluids to enter the device. Meeting that requirement is a job for precision medical machining services to tackle, using CNC and EDM equipment to ensure exact dimensions.

Customized Devices

In the new age of personalized medicine, many items are custom created for a specific patient. Artificial knees, prosthetic limbs and many implants are all one of a kind. In this case, the application requires a small number of precisely machined components to assemble into the finished device. It would be prohibitively expensive to attempt to create the degree of precision in small quantity runs that this application requires, but CNC equipment is ideal. It’s fast to set up and works as well for small runs as it does for large runs.
Every day medical science makes giant leaps forward in the creation of new devices that save the lives of millions of people and improve the quality of life for millions of others. These advances would not be possible without medical machining services staffed with caring and experienced medical machining specialists.