With cost pressures in the healthcare industry, Medical MIM is an excellent alternative to traditional machining processes. Unlike machining, which produces significant scrap, MIM can produce parts in net shape with no secondary machining.
MIM parts can also be sterilised using the hot isostatic press process without the need for a deburring step, and with minimal degradation of material properties.
Medical devices can be produced much more cost-effectively with MIM than with traditional machining processes. This is especially true with micro-MIM, which combines the features of plastic injection molding with metal forming to produce complex medical parts at high volumes. This next-generation shaping process is able to create intricate components with tight tolerances, including undercuts, threads and slots. The MIM process is also able to reduce production time and costs by eliminating secondary machining operations.
In addition, MIM can use a wide range of materials, including biocompatible alloys that are often used in medical device manufacturing. This allows for the creation of unique products, such as small-diameter check valves that are designed to prevent fluid flow through arteries or veins.
Medical MIM parts can also be produced with tight radii and true position geometries, which are challenging to machine and require a lot of design work. Additionally, medical MIM uses less raw material than machining, which can help lower operating costs.
Medical MIM parts for orthopedic tools, surgical instruments and implants can be complex in geometry, and their shapes must be able to match the contours of human anatomy. Because MIM titanium alloys have improved corrosion resistance, compared to steel, and high biocompatibility, confidence in using this process for Medical MIM is growing.
In addition, the MIM process allows for a range of materials to be used in these products. Stainless steel is commonly employed for its strength and corrosion resistance, but MIM can also be used with a variety of other alloys, including nickel-free stainless steels, cobalt-chrome and titanium.
For instance, a knee brace component can be manufactured from a combination of 316L and 420 stainless steel. It is important to note that wall thicknesses must be consistent in MIM parts, as drastically different walls could create voids, resulting in distortion. Sharp internal corners must be cored or rounded to avoid this issue. With a wide array of materials and features, MIM is an ideal manufacturing solution for many Medical products and parts.
The use of MIM parts for medical instruments has increased over the years as hospitals demand less invasive tools that are easy to sterilize. MIM also allows for more complex shapes and contours that are ideal for specialized surgical devices and implants.
The MIM process can be used to produce a wide variety of medical-grade metals, such as stainless steel and cobalt-chrome alloys, that are FDA approved for medical applications. As a net-shape manufacturing technology, MIM produces parts with minimal porosity and excellent mechanical properties that are comparable to those of wrought metals.
The MIM process is also capable of producing intricate features and undercuts on parts, which eliminates the need for secondary machining operations that can be costly and time-consuming. However, a part’s overall geometry must be designed for production in MIM. Parts with sharp external corners will have difficulty filling and packing completely because of shear forces limiting flow or air entrapment. Also, walls much thinner than 0.010in will have trouble sintering without distortion.
MIM’s ability to maintain dimensional accuracy and tight tolerances makes it an excellent choice for producing medical tools. JH MIM produces several types of surgical instrument components, including a wide range of metal-injection-molded stainless steel and titanium alloy products that are used by surgeons to help improve patient care. These tools range from scalpels and forceps to clamps and scissors.
MIM can produce complex geometries that cannot be manufactured using traditional machining methods. In addition, MIM can create parts with intricate features such as threads, grooves and undercuts.
TiMIM is an ideal process for manufacturing medical devices that require high strength, biocompatibility and hermetic seals. It is a cost-effective, efficient production method for medical tools and implants that use stainless steels or titanium alloys. These materials resist corrosion, are durable and biocompatible. In fact, titanium’s biocompatibility can reduce the likelihood of rejection by the body and can reduce stress on surrounding bones and tissues. This is especially important in joints such as knees and ankles.