CNC Machining in the Medical Industry

Considering that the medical industry deals in providing care and managing human life, it is essential that its devices are of top quality without any dimensional irregularities. Hence, the need for a reliable manufacturing process, such as CNC services.

CNC machining is easily the most versatile of all conventional manufacturing techniques. This versatility and its error-free and close attention to detail capabilities have made it valuable to several sectors, including the medical industry.

This article discusses the reasons and applications of CNC services in manufacturing medical parts and the medical industry at large.

Reasons for CNC Machining Medical Parts

Here are some reasons why manufacturers utilize CNC services for creating medical equipment.

●    High Precision and Tight Tolerance Requirements

Many medical tools and devices require extreme precision and tight tolerances, especially tiny components and implants to be introduced into the human body. Hence, digital machining is an excellent fit for these applications, as it can meet tolerance levels of more than 50 microns.

These medical devices demand high dimensional accuracy, as a little deviation from the standard may hamper therapy.  

●    Swift and Seamless Production Process

Regardless of the complexity of the medical component, once you’ve got your digital CAD files, it only takes a few hours to get your end product with CNC machining. Since machining is a fast production process yet maintains high dimensional accuracy, it’s an excellent choice when dealing with medical emergencies.

This benefit may prove more valuable in cases where it is difficult to determine the kind of material required or its volume. In addition, CNC machining products possess a high-quality surface finish, requiring fewer post-processing treatments.

●    Suitable for Wide Range of Materials

CNC machines boast compatibility with many commonly used materials in manufacturing. Most medical and surgical apparatus are designed with materials such as stainless, aluminum, steel, plastics, etc. Therefore, manufacturers trust CNC operations for cutting and other production processes.

●    No Volume Restrictions on Medical Device Machining

You only need to create your CAD files; then, you can program the codes for the CNC operation. With just a push of a button, the coding program allows you to fabricate the number of parts you require with top-notch dimensional accuracy.

Considering that many medical devices are for single use, this advantage makes CNC services the best choice for fabricating these pieces of equipment, prosthetics, and other components.

●    Portability of Machines

Indeed, CNC machines used industrially are large, occupying a lot of space. However, there exist compact portable CNC machines that can fit on a desk.

These machines may be limited in capabilities, but they are suitable for machining simple medical appliances at extreme precision.

A desktop milling machine, for example, can fabricate simple jigs, fixtures, and other medical surgical equipment.

Applications of CNC Services for Medical Device Machining

The medical industry requires tools and devices that meet high precision standards; this makes CNC services an excellent fit. Some of the applications of CNC machined medical parts include the following:

●    Medical Device Machining

The medical industry largely depends on CNC services for fabricating most metal components, especially surgical instruments. Some of these tools and equipment have direct contact with body organs. Thus their production requires extreme care and precision.

CNC Machining in the Medical Industry

The tools include scissors, cutters, forceps, clamps, blade handlers, implant holders, etc. Most manufacturers of medical devices utilize CNC machining in fabricating these tools because of its high precision standards.

●    Body Implants

Besides medical device machining, CNC services are the go-to manufacturing process for producing body implants like hip and knee implants. Like every CNC medical part, these implants require high dimensional accuracy, as a little deviation from the standard may be detrimental to the patient requiring such implants.

CNC Machining in the Medical Industry

Different materials, like stainless and titanium, to plastics like PEEK and other non-metals, are used to manufacture these implants. The compatibility of CNC machining to an extensive array of materials makes it the most ideal for machining medical parts.

Moreover, medical experts often require these implants in limited supply. So, since CNC machining can utilize the same tools repeatedly, manufacturers can minimize production costs.

●    Micromachining Medical Parts

As the name suggests, micromachining refers to manufacturing minute medical components. These microcomponents are often incorporated into ophthalmic devices, drug-delivering tech, implants, etc. Even though these parts are small, they are highly sophisticated, requiring highly skilled machinists.

Consequently, medical device machining seems the best bet for fabricating these parts, as CNC tools can create components with up to 0.001 inches tolerance. Medical equipment manufacturers apply micromachining in creating catheters, pacemakers, stents, miniature screws for implants, etc.

●    Machining Electronic Medical Equipment

We have already discussed using CNC services to manufacture simple medical devices and implants consisting of not more than two parts. However, CNC is also ideal for creating more complicated devices like ECG and X-Ray machines, CT and MRI scanners, etc.

These complex machines contain several machined parts, like the smaller components such as switches, levers, buttons, etc., and some more sophisticated features. Regardless of size, all medical apparatus must meet all precision and tolerance requirements as a glitch in one or more components of such equipment may be fatal.

Moreover, these devices permit machinist flexibility in the choice of materials as there are fewer biological restrictions since they do not necessarily interact directly with patients like in implants.

Conclusion

Medical device machining requires utmost dimensional accuracy at high operational speeds, making CNC services ideal for its fabrications.

It’s already the go-to process for creating most devices used in hospitals and other health sectors. Besides, it’s highly versatile and efficient in producing these devices. CNC machining is also cost-effective and saves time, regardless of the number of production units.

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