During the pandemic, the medical manufacturing industry is fighting on multiple fronts. Just as the demand for medical supplies such as masks and respirators peaked, unexpected job losses and supply chain disruptions occurred. Despite their efforts to obtain materials, equip stores, and even transport finished parts, manufacturers are still expected to continue producing high-quality and high-precision medical products.
Experts predict that these supply chain disruptions may persist until 2024, making it necessary for medical manufacturers to not only try to turn losses into profits, but also to help the healthcare industry. CNC medical CNC machining is a process where machinists use code to automatically operate machines such as milling machines, routers, or lathes, helping these manufacturers produce parts faster and more efficiently. In turn, hospitals, hospices, and other clinics can receive the materials they need in a timely manner.
Many medical supplies, such as plastic face shields, are made using injection molding. CNC machining is used to create the best molds to achieve consistent and repeatable injection. Numerically controlled machine tools are fundamentally more accurate and faster than manual machine tools. This also makes their machined products more accurate. This becomes very important for machine products with stricter tolerances, such as prosthetics and medical machinery.
CNC machining can produce components for high-end surgical instruments, pacemakers, and even devices that are implanted in patients during surgery. For example, bone screws are perfect components manufactured using Swiss CNC machines.
These screws may only be one millimeter in one direction, have amazing strict tolerances, and need a perfect surface finish to eliminate patient discomfort and even part failure. Due to pollution issues, they cannot be cut with fluids, so the only way to make them is using CNC machining. The best way to cut larger parts is using CNC machining.
In addition to having specific tension and elongation requirements, the design of any medical component must consider sterilization or disposal. The available materials in the industry reflect this. About four-fifths of medical equipment is made of stainless steel because of its oxidation resistance and ease of processing.
However, titanium alloys are rapidly becoming more popular because titanium's elasticity is closer to that of bone than stainless steel. Some ceramics, polymers, and composite materials are also used. More material research is being conducted every day.
As the inherent complexity of medical processing increases, processing hard titanium without coolant, while still maintaining safe heat levels and meeting strict tolerances, is nearly impossible without a powerful CAD/CAM suite to do the cutting for you.