The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and in recent years, the sector has recorded an increased need for innovations in medical technology and portable, durable devices. In the same way, there is a growing demand for medical components that are not only high-performing, but are compatible with the human body over sustained use.
For many years, stainless steel had been considered the only material suitable for manufacturing medical equipment. However, aluminum and cobalt chromium alloys have recently found a place in the medical market. And with Signicast investment castings, you can take advantage of each of these alloys as well as our precision capabilities and tight tolerances for the best performance in the industry.
Stainless steel alloys for medical-grade equipment
While innovations in materials for the medical industry are ever changing, there is no disputing the fact that stainless steel is still often the first choice for most medical equipment manufacturers due to its low and high temperature resistance, high strength, and biocompatible properties. And with investment casting, you can engineer the necessary complex geometries into the casting to enhance part performance and reliability. Our stainless steel alloys include different combinations of nickel, chromium, and carbon. Depending on the application, you can choose between the 300 or the 400 series stainless steels.
The 400-series comprise 25% nickel, 1%carbon, and 11-27% chromium. The 300-series contain 6-25% nickel and 16-30% chromium. If you need a material with high strength and are looking to cut cost, the 400-series could be the right choice. However, for applications that need high strength, high corrosion resistance, and to retain their properties at high temperatures, the 300-series group could be more effective.
It is best to connect with one of our metallurgists to determine which material is best suited to your requirements. You may be surprised to find that there is an option available that you had not yet considered. Contact our team today!
Aluminum alloys for Class 1 & 2 devices and housings
While stainless steels meet biocompatibility and strength requirements for Class 1 and 2 medical devices, its weight is often a limiting factor when it comes to usability. Aluminum alloys often incur lower total costs while maintaining significantly higher strength to weight ratio compared to stainless steels. Plus, aluminum inherently creates aluminum oxide when exposed to oxidizing agents, creating a protective layer that prevents further oxidation, and therefore weakness, of the component. This is where lightweight aluminum has found its place in the market producing medical components for applications such as handheld surgical devices and portable medical equipment that needs to be durable, lightweight, and easy to use while also being able to pass stringent FDA regulations.
Cobalt alloys (ASTM-75) for implantable devices
Signicast has utilized cobalt alloys as an alternative to stainless steel, especially for use within implantable devices. Cobalt-Chromium, which is ferromagnetic, is very strong even when exposed to very high temperatures and has high corrosion and wear resistance when compared to other metals. It is also entirely biocompatible, making it suitable for implantable devices.
Medical component manufacturer
Medical devices, whether Class 1 or 2, have components that should meet and/or exceed the necessary efficiency and safety requirements set in place by governing forces as well as the physical and mechanical properties required by you, the manufacturer. This calls for extra care when choosing what material to use in the manufacture of such devices and the right manufacturing partner to successfully launch your program.
If you’re looking for a manufacturing partner that can offer more than just parts off the line, contact Signicast today! Our engineers can help you find the best and most cost-efficient material for your project.