Medical equipment manufacturers compete to supply hospitals and healthcare facilities worldwide with cutting-edge technology powered by high-end equipment. To accomplish this, they utilize quality heat treatment methods to ensure that medical products can withstand years of use and the normal wear and tear of treatments, tests, and procedures.
Products made for non-implantable and implantable medical devices are included in the category of medical heat treatment. Non-implantable items are typically made of austenitic stainless steel that can be shaped into intricate designs. While heat treating implanted medical devices, strict quality control is needed to ensure no pollutants enter the body.
Types of Heat Treatments for Medical Tools and Equipment
Heat treatment is crucial in manufacturing almost any metal product today, including vehicles, electronics, medical devices, and industrial apparatus. There are several types of heat treatment methods, including the following:
Creating new grains without residual stress in an annealing furnace involves heating a material over its recrystallization temperature but below its melting temperature. The material is then cooled in the furnace at a controlled rate to improve its ductility and lessen its brittleness.
Hardening furnaces (often referred to as austenitizing furnaces) are made to heat alloys until transformation occurs. The materials are then rapidly cooled, creating a robust inner core and a durable exterior casing.
Like annealing, the process of normalizing heats a material to a temperature above recrystallization but below melting. The material is then allowed to cool in a room-temperature atmosphere. Normalizing produces a harder but less ductile product than annealing.
When a component is quenched, it is heated to a certain temperature before being submerged in air, water, oil, gas, or another liquid to cool and harden. For more evenly distributed cooling, the material can be quenched for a longer period or until it reaches room temperature.
Precipitation hardening, also known as “age hardening,” is used to strengthen a material’s resistance and increase strength. Numerous materials, including stainless steel metals frequently utilized in the medical sector, are used in this technique.
Finding the Right Quality Heat Treating Partner for Medical Equipment
To develop and manage consistent and standards-compliant products, process quality control is crucial in thermal processing. Here are factors you must consider in finding reliable manufacturing partners for heat treating medical requirements:
Production and Control
For quality heat treating, manufacturers should seek partners capable of producing heat-treated materials with strict quality control standards. When dealing with devices and accessories used in the medical industry, working with a team with questionable production capabilities and quality control can be detrimental to your project requirements.
Understanding customer specifications for medical tools is crucial. Thus, you must work with a manufacturing team that is knowledgeable and experienced with the type of components you need. Partner with a team adept at communicating from start to finish, including delivering the finished products.
Process development may be required for complex heat-treating requirements. Consider working with a different heat-treating specialist if your current manufacturing provider is not flexible enough to adapt to innovative process needs.
Process Quality Control
One of the critical factors in quality control is the capability to follow customer requirements. Hence, working with a manufacturing team with a proven track record of delivering consistently high-quality components is important.
S.M. Engineering: Your Partner for Quality Heat Treating!
With over 70 years of experience in heat treatment, S.M. Engineering can develop an innovative solution for any industrial need and application. We are committed to delivering what you need when you need it!
Contact us today to learn more about our products and heat-treating services.