The Best Metals for Medical Industry Part Production
Most medical product and device developers need to consider the type of material used for manufacture carefully. At Creatingway, we commonly handle metal and plastic since they have exceptional characteristics. In the medical industry, require to have the highest form of strength and durability. Especially when the intended product or tool will act as a replacement joint. This is because we subject the part to a lot and constant mechanical stress.
Besides metals with excellent mechanical durability, the choice of metal should have a set of features unique from other materials. For instance, the metal should be non-toxic and non-corrosive when exposed to human tissue or fluids and non-magnetic. Additionally, the metal should resist the action of alcohols and detergents when cleaning.
In our medical industry, has to the invention and manufacture of the different medical devices. The cause is due to the many variables in the number of possible raw materials that can make medical devices. They only approve metals compatible with human life.
Common Metal Alloys Used In the Medical Industry to Make Devices
At Creatingway, we consider stainless steel as the ideal metal for most medical device types. The main features of the metal are durable, non-toxic, and non-corrosive. Additionally, a designer can opt to polish the metal for an easier clean later. The common type of stainless steel used for medical implants and body piercing are 316 and 316L. These metals are highly corrosive resistant. This feature is important as it reduces the chance of a bloodstream infection occurring. Also, some people may experience an allergic reaction if the stainless steel had a nickel. Luckily, this metal has low levels of nickel, making it useful in allergic people.
We use 440 stainless steel to make most of the surgical steels. However, this metal has low corrosion resistance when compared to 316. On the upside, stainless steel 440 has a higher carbon content. This means we can heat treat the steel to make very sharp edges that become cutting instruments.
Other applications of stainless steel include orthopedic surgery. Doctors prefer the metal for hip replacement surgery. Another use is to make screws and plates for stabilizing broken bones. In the vascular field, stainless steel has become widely used in recent years. Also, since it is easy to clean stainless steel surgical tools like forceps, tweezers, and hemostats, we can make them from metal.
Titanium is as strong and durable as stainless steel. However, the metal has extra perks in a lighter weight and great biocompatibility. Therefore, we commonly substitute stainless steel for titanium in certain medical procedures. For instance, in making bone replacements and skeletal support. These bodily implants are sure to stay within the host for a long time. Titanium alloys also can make dental implants due to the unique silvery shine the metal can impart. We advise designers to use 3D printing technology in making customized parts. Employ the use of the patient’s X-rays and scan as raw information for making the prints. The only pitfall is the initial high cots in trying to machine titanium. Thus, we do not advise titanium used in making prototypes.
Most medical devices don’t employ the use of copper in making medical implants. This is due to the soft property and the possibility of toxicity of copper. Despite these negative properties, copper alloys still have a role in the medical field. Copper is known to have amazing antibacterial and antiviral properties. Thus, the metal is ideal for making medical surfaces, such as door handles and switches, and bed rails. These surfaces constantly come into contact with pathogens. The biocidal activity of copper will ensure the amount of the pathogens is always in check. FDA has even approved the use of over 400 different copper alloys in the fight against COVID-19. Another features its shiny ability. We can fashion dental implants for aesthetic purposes.
The aluminum metal has little role in making devices with direct contact with the body. However, the metal works great in making support equipment, such as walking sticks, wheelchairs, bed frames, and IV stands. This is because the metal is strong, light, and corrosion-resistant. In order to maintain the durability of the mentioned equipment, we pain or oxidize the raw form of aluminum.
Magnesium has a great weight to strength ratio and bio-safe. However, the metal is highly reactive during exposure to oxygen or liquids. Therefore, we traditionally don’t use metal to make medical devices and appliances.
Magnesium is known for being naturally and safely biodegradable. We can cleverly exploit this unique property to make bone graft replacements and heart stents. For instance, once the stent has served its purpose, the bloodstream reabsorbs the stent. Thus, this outcome prevents the need to have another surgical procedure to remove the stent.
Contact Creatingway now for medical device manufacturing needs. Our team of dedicated engineers has worked with these materials in numerous projects. We have the experience to help you out in any medical device project.
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