Fintek Surface Finishing Expertise Helps Medical Device Manufacturer

A trip to the dentist, doctors or at worst, hospital, is not top of most people’s wish list. However, once there, you do hope that the plethora of metal based medical devices in use have been made to the best possible standards. The quality of surface finish of medical instruments, prosthesis, implants, bone screws and more is often critical to patient outcome and there can be no compromise.

For manufacturers of medical devices this demands similar high and possibly even more challenging standards than those of the aerospace industry. Hand finishing alone, besides being labour intensive and therefore costly, suffers from inconsistency. Complexity, size and fragility of medical parts often renders manual finishing mostly impossible. Especially for prosthesis, achieving surfaces with the lowest possible friction is beneficial. In addition, medical devices have to be hygienic to ensure patient safety and surface finish contributes to this goal.

A manufacturer of femoral shafts (hip stems) came to Fintek needing to improve surface finish and reduce costs. Unsure of the best finishing machine for the job, the manufacturer sent product samples and specification requirement to Fintek. We then set about processing the samples to find the best combination of machine, media and process times to produce the desired finish. This is a free service to prove results achievable.

Using a drag finishing machine, where the femoral shafts are held in special holders to ensure they don’t contact and sustain any damage during processing, we found that surface smoothness values of up to 0.01Ra were achievable. This produced a surface finish that under visual inspection alone was superior to what the manufacturer had been achieving by conventional methods.

With the new machines and process the manufacturer is able to significantly reduce hand finishing bottlenecks and increase output, while still ensuring a higher quality surface finish that is repeatable and at a lower cost

Besides femoral shafts, drag finishing is ideal for tibia trays, prosthetic sockets, endoscopes and more. For smaller parts such as surgical fasteners, bone plates and screws, implants, acrylic teeth and instrument parts, disc finishing machines are cost effective. Systems are also available for surface finishing tableting tools in pharmaceutical manufacturing. Whether made from stainless steel, titanium or ceramics – high-precision finishing of all materials is possible.

Highlights

  • Better surface smoothness (0.01Ra achievable)
  • Time and cost saving over hand finishing
  • Increase in output without sacrificing quality
  • Repeatable process ensures consistency
  • Part looked visually superior to conventional method

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