Due to their precision, efficiency, and economy, mass finishing and shot blasting are an indispensable part of the finishing process for a wide variety of orthopedic implants in different manufacturing stages.
These flexible machines can handle general cleaning; deburring; surface smoothing after casting, forging, stamping, machining, and heat treatment; surface preparation for polishing or coating; and the placement of the final finish on all kinds of implants and medical devices.
With an experienced partner such as Rosler, these processes are also capable of adapting to emerging trends with proper testing and processing trials.
Evolving Technology & Outlook
Orthopedic implant manufacturers are at the cutting edge of medical technology. New materials and manufacturing techniques and technologies are constantly evaluated to improve the performance and longevity of the implants and reduce the manufacturing cost. Two examples are the increased use of ceramics as base material or coating and additive manufacturing.
Like mass finishing, shot blasting is an exceptionally versatile surface treatment technology. Its applications range from general cleaning after casting and forging to shot peening and, even, cosmetic blasting for placing a fine, matte finish on the work pieces.
For shot blasting orthopedic implants, Rosler recommends mainly air and occasionally wet blasting systems. In each process, blast media is accelerated by compressed air and thrown at the work pieces through a blast nozzle, creating an extremely precise blast pattern compared to turbine blasting. Another advantage of air blasting is that it can be used with metallic, mineral as well as organic blast media.
These attributes and many more make this surface finishing method particularly useful in the medical industry.
Examples of Shot Blasting
Shot blasting is an impact system in which small metal or mineral pellets are thrown onto the surface of a work piece at speeds of 200-800 feet/second. The impact on the work piece surface produces the desired cleaning, peening, or texturing effect.
For medical applications, mainly air and wet blast systems are used which generally make a surface rougher. The smoothest finishes achieved with shot blasting are about Ra = 16-32 microinches (= 0.4 to 0.8 μm).
While choosing the right implant material is of utmost importance, as discussed in our previous Orthopedic Implant Series post, the significance of optimum surface treatment throughout the entire implant manufacturing process cannot be overstated. This relates not only to the right surface finish, but also total compliance with the specified tight dimensional tolerances.
The functionality of an orthopedic implant is determined by the perfect match between the various implant components. This depends, to a large extent, on the surface treatment procedure(s).
Joint reconstruction implants are subject to the same zero-defect performance and reliability standards as any other implant. However, because two components are always interacting with each other, dimensional accuracy is of particular importance.
Within the medical industry, surface finishing experts such as Rosler assist implant manufacturers in achieving the exact finish needed for each surface of the joint.
In addition to increasing product popularity and demand for the manufacturer and providing medical professionals with safe and dependable joint replacements, ensuring that orthopedic implants have the exact finishing required enables the joint to function longer and more comfortably for the patient.
The medical industry is constantly looking for better, more suitable materials that will offer greater performance and longevity for medical devices, implants, and instruments while simultaneously searching for more efficient manufacturing technologies.
When it comes to surface finishing, such newly developed materials and
manufacturing processes can pose considerable technical challenges. That’s why
close cooperation between the medical device manufacturers and qualified
surface treatment experts is essential during the development and prototyping
In our last medical instrument blog, Rosler Metal Finishing discussed the surface finishing requirements for medical instruments. This blog will dive deeper into the techniques used in surface finishing and answer the question: What is the best type of surface finishing for medical instruments?
The short answer is a combination of mass finishing and shot blasting. Guidance
for a surface finishing expert can help determine the best process – typically
a series of processes – for a specific medical instrument.
Technological advances in medical equipment and implants have driven
worldwide spinal implant sales to $10 billion annually.
Like orthopedic implants used for joint reconstruction and the surgical
fixation of a bone fracture, spinal implants are subject to very specific and
strict surface finishing requirements.
Mass finishing and shot blasting play a key role in creating the right
finish for spinal implants, not only for intermediate surface treatment after
forging, casting, machining, additive manufacturing, etc., but also for placing
the final surface finish before implantation.
Rosler Metal Finishing has extensive experience in surface finishing spinal implants using mass finishing, shot blasting, and a combination of both methods.
In a series of posts, we’ll analyze the specific surface finishing
requirements for spinal implants based on their functional and performance
characteristics and describe the respective mass finishing and shot blasting
equipment and methods available to fulfill these requirements.
Rosler Metal Finishing understands that medical instruments are subject to stringent quality standards. Whether during an office visit or a complicated surgery, material defects or malfunctions may create dangerous and even fatal consequences for patients and healthcare workers alike. Providing precise and durable surface finishes for work pieces used in the medical industry is one of our passions.
In a series of blog posts, we’ll
discuss the various technologies used for finishing the surface of medical
instruments and how mass finishing and shot blasting play a key role, not only
as intermediate steps but also for placing the final, finishing touch on these work
We begin with a basic question: What are the surface finishing requirements associated with medical instruments?
Medical instruments are exposed to frequent use and subject to highly corrosive atmospheres caused by frequent sterilization in a steam pressure chamber, exposure to chlorine wipes, and ultrasonic cleaning. They must never fail. To minimize wear and prevent corrosion most medical instruments, especially surgical tools, are made from tough, slow wearing, corrosion-resistant, high-performance metal alloys including austenitic stainless steel, titanium, or cobalt chrome.
In our last trauma implant blog,Rosler Metal Finishing discussed the materials used in trauma implants. From hip replacements to cranial plates, there are numerous uses for trauma implants; each with its own unique surface finishing needs and requirements.
Trauma implant manufacturers must achieve
the necessary surface finish to ensure patient safety and best results. These finishing
requirements can range from simple cleaning or deburring to surface smoothing
and high-gloss polishing.
This blog will answer the question: What techniques are used to finish off trauma implants?
What types of finishes are used?
Trauma implants are subject to multiple finishing operations throughout the manufacturing process. After manufacturing steps including forging, blanking, machining, and thread cutting for screws, the workpieces usually undergo a surface cleaning (descaling, de-oiling), deburring, edge radiusing, or surface grinding operation, before they receive their final finish.
Rosler Metal Finishing understands that trauma implants and medical devices are subject to stringent quality standards. Any material defect or malfunction can have catastrophic consequences for a patient. That’s why we take our work in the trauma implant field very seriously.
Also known as osteosynthetic
implants, trauma implants include pins, screws, and plates used to surgically
fix a bone defect. Implant manufacturers must select the right material and attain
the required surface finish to ensure patient safety and best results.
In a series of blog posts, we’ll
answer the most common questions about trauma implant materials and finishes.
We begin with a basic question: What
materials are used in trauma implants?
The answer, in short, is usually stainless steel or titanium.
Does the material performance affect the selection?
In order to select the best material, trauma implant manufacturers must understand the specific performance attributes of the implant they are creating. Implants are subject to very strict performance and reliability standards. Selected materials must act as bone stabilizers and healing support while meeting the following guidelines.
It is not surprising that trauma implants, along with other medical devices, are subject to the most stringent quality standards. Any material defect or malfunction can have catastrophic consequences for a patient.
For implants, the two key issues for manufacturers to deal with are selecting the right material and attaining the required surface finish. The finishing requirements can range from simple cleaning or deburring to surface smoothing and high-gloss polishing. Components exposed to a lot of tensile and bending stress even undergo a shot peening process to improve their fatigue life.
Some implants must have a textured or “rough” finish to promote osseointegration, which is the attachment of surrounding bone tissue to the implant. Other trauma implants require a very smooth surface to prevent the bone from attaching itself to the implanted material.
We’ve created anotherexclusive surface finishing guidebookto cover this complex topic, in which we will discuss the surface finishing needs of trauma implants and the impact finishes have on their functionality and performance. Examples of mass finishing and shot blasting applications will also be presented followed by detailed machine reports of actual applications used in the industry today.
If you are interested in sending us your parts forFREE process development, contact us here.