Smith Metal Products’ expanded machining capabilities - Today's Medical Developments

2022-04-02 07:01:56 By : Ms. Amy Wei

The company’s expanded capabilities extend MIM net shape parts to include fine tolerances, a MIM Hybrid Solution.

Smith Metal Products adds CNC lathe to in-house machining capabilities making Smith one of the largest MIM molders with significantly more CNC machines and advanced secondary processing capabilities in the USA. Smith Metal’s machining capabilities include CNC 5 axis machining, CNC turning, coining, laser etching/engraving now with 12 in-house machine tools, CNC machinists, and CNC programmers.  Smith also has established external sources for polishing, lapping, grinding, and EDM wire cutting.

Smith Metal Products calls it their MIM Hybrid Solution for taking MIM net shaped parts beyond the common achievable MIM molding tolerances, states Jim Beyer account manager. “We’ve seen a big increase in interest for MIM parts requiring fine tolerances which are beyond MIM molding capabilities. Secondary, post-process machining is often needed to produce these very precise round holes, threaded holes, and smooth, flat surfaces for interfacing with other parts.”

MIM is often a more effective process to achieve precision parts while eliminating machining because MIM parts are precise, net-shaped parts that are produced faster and usually with no secondary operations. If higher tolerances need to be held and cannot be MIM molded, Smith’s MIM Hybrid Solution to achieve tighter specifications is utilized while still being more competitive than complete CNC machining of parts.

Smith Metal Products produces MIM parts for a variety of industries including: automotive, aerospace, firearms, medical, dental, recreation and appliance. Materials available for MIM molding range from stainless steel, steel, titanium, and include most all ferrous materials. Parts that are suitable for MIM processing include those that have annual volumes of 25,000 pieces or more for a single component, or three or more parts that have annual usage of 10,000 or more and a finished part weight of less than 100g (3.5oz). All dimensions of the component should be 3" or less, and the maximum wall thickness should be 3mm (0.125") or less or can be cored out to have thinner wall sections. Smith will help you fine tune your designs to improve manufacturability and reduce costs. MIM parts must be ferrous metals.

OnRobot and Heidenhain are two of the companies discussing what the latest robotic developments are; and they’ll answer your questions live at the webinar.

Join us on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, at 12PM ET for the Current Robotic Trends, Technology roundtable. Moderated by Associate Editor Jake Kauffman, hear from the panelists, ask questions, and leave the webinar with actionable answers.

Here’s a look at two of companies that will be participating in the webinar:

OnRobot's solutions help small and mid-sized manufacturers optimize their processes and grow their businesses with greater flexibility, higher output and improved quality. Collaborative automation has levelled the playing field for small and mid-sized manufacturers, and as robots become easier to buy and implement, the tooling has become the vital element in adapting for a wide range of applications. Regardless of the robot brand, OnRobot provides compatibility and versatility beyond compare. It's everything manufacturers need from one supplier, providing even more value from the automation investment.

From smart factories and robot builders to mobility companies and interstellar research, Heidenhain's positioning control systems are helping shape the safe and productive future of unmanned operations. The technological bar may be continuing to rise, but with 120-plus years of motion control R&D in Heidenhain's arsenal, the company has always been at the forefront of automation and always will be.

Don’t delay, secure your free seat at the webinar today!

As 2022 progresses, the medical device industry will continue to grow significantly in many key areas especially in regulatory compliance.

While the years of Pandemic have been challenging for many industries across the globe, its uncertainty has changed the way we live and work. Against this backdrop,the medical device industry has had to adapt to novel methods of digital transformation to ensure product quality, reduce costs, improve efficiencies and comply with global regulations.

As we progress into the future, it is crucial to remain aware of trends affecting the medical device industry in 2022. While sound infrastructure and legacy software may have assisted in improving the structure and efficiency of modern healthcare and hospitals in the past, however, given the demanding nature of the medical industry, such outdated software may not be enough to meet the growing needs of customers and key stakeholders. Moreover, it is also essential to consider whether legacy infrastructure and software can integrate with latest technologies or if they may be replaced by more cutting-edge and reliable systems. Eventually, if these technologies are more focused on productivity, security, and efficiency without compromising on reliability, they may begin to be widely adopted.

There have been many innovations in technology that have driven the transformation of the healthcare sector. Given below are some of the most significant technologies from Cloud PLM solutions to smart medical wearables, affecting the medical device industry, which could have the potential to transform the industry.

The growing demand of cloud transformations In this age of distributed and collaborative business models, cloud computing is gradually gaining popularity in the digital workforce. Many industries have either completely moved or have moved most of their processes to the cloud.

Cloud computing has an untapped potential in the medical device industry as they provide a shared platform with industry-wide workflow automation, unified data and a comprehensive and customized product development process, which can help medical device enterprises become more scalable and efficient. Cloud services not only help improve the scope of the medical services, but they also improve the flow of data between the service providers and users.

By improving visibility, collaboration and responsiveness across the entire value chain, the latest generation of cloud services enable reduced costs, faster time to market and superior customer experience.

Adoption of cloud PLM services for enhancing product development lifecycle The medical device industry faces enormous challenges that range from quality inconsistency, supply chain inefficiencies, complex regulatory compliance issues and rapid product innovation to meet with the current demands of the healthcare industry. This is where the importance of the current product life management (PLM) systems can be revolutionary in optimizing current technological assets or upgrading to new solutions.

The PLM cycle is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from its formation through its design, development, manufacturing, and commercialization of the manufactured product. In the realm of the medical device industry, it has become a key player in accelerating deliveries, improving time to market, reducing costs, supporting regulatory compliance issues, and achieving faster product design.

PLM services for the medical device industry, such as Oracle PLM Cloud and Agile Product Lifecycle Management Solutions have been incredibly valuable as they consist of solutions for product innovation, supply chain, quality, and regulatory compliance. Getting an innovative, cost-effective product to market quickly requires collaborative interaction of all key stakeholders throughout the product design cycle. This is where the adoption of PLM services is crucial as it not just reduces time to market, but it also reduces costs related to redesign, reduces regulatory delays due to inefficient document control and improves communication between the teams.

Medical wearable technology is becoming popular One of the most significant advancements in the healthcare industry is the advancement of wearable technologies. Smart wearable medical technology has made it possible to monitor the status of a patient or monitor their own status, which is incredibly valuable. The trend for consumer smartwatches is set to become more widely adopted and their potential to be used in healthcare applications must be noted. In addition to this, smartwatches are also improving in their ability to provide more precise blood vitals in their users.

Smart watches are not the only technology that will see a growing curve in the coming years. Bio patches and small hearing aids have similar levels of impact when it comes to promoting overall health and wellness and optimize healthcare given to patients.

3D print technology helping save lives Another emerging technology that is expected to gain a lot of traction in the medical device industry is 3D print technology. 3D printing is the process of making 3-dimensional solid objects from a digital file. When used in the medical device industry, 3D rendering technology has remarkable capacity to create a positive impact and save lives. With 3D print technology, it is possible to generate prosthetics that are customized to patients, produce custom-made organs and tools used for surgical procedures. In addition to this, these printed objects can also be used for the development of prototypes and for purposes of research. Moreover, 3D print technology is also used for the enhancement of design in dentistry and orthodontics.

The scope of artificial intelligence in medical regulations While the medical device industry has improved rapidly, raising life expectancy but as longevity increases, medical industries face growing demand for their services and a workforce that is struggling to meet the needs of its patients. The growing demand of patient needs along with huge expenses and operational inefficiencies has compelled businesses to rethink their whole lifecycle processes. This is where the significance of AI comes into play, which is the science of equipping a machine to make decisions in a way that mimics human intelligence and behavior. Driven by the pandemic, recent times have seen AI progress from being a concept to a reality.

Medical devices are subject to strong regulatory standards that give reasonable assurance of their safety and efficacy due to their ability to alter patients' health outcomes for the better or for the worse. AI can speed up this process by giving more meaningful insights from minor patterns in vast data sets and advanced analytics on how systems work throughout time and across many circumstances, decreasing inspection times dramatically. In addition to this, AI can read and anticipate text, language, symbols, and other assets linked with a medical device's label thanks to its predictive skills. It can then automatically feed this data into a spreadsheet, speeding up arduous procedures that would take people far longer.

AI can be a game-changer when it comes to optimizing operational efficiency and minimizing risk in a highly regulated business like the medical device industry, where it may lead to significant improvements in mistake handling and performance management.

Future of the medical device industry is in digital innovation As 2022 progresses, the medical device industry will continue to grow significantly in many key areas especially in regulatory compliance. With compliance dates and regulation deadlines, medical device industries must embrace advanced technologies if they wish to fulfill regulatory compliance policies and many other operational challenges.

Fortunately, novel technologies such as Cloud-based services, especially cloud-based PLM solutions, artificial intelligence and 3D printing are paving the way for digital innovation in medical device industries and helping them solve critical challenges. While such technologies are a long way from replacing human interaction and intelligence, they can be significant in enhancing operational efficiency, productivity, and speed, while minimizing the risk of errors.

COINING develops new bio-implantable composite materials (BCMs) to improve performance and reliability of implantable medical devices.

AMETEK COINING is launching all-new Bio-Implantable Composite Materials (BCMs) that are ideal for multiple life-saving applications in the medical industry. Capabilities include maximum strength, high corrosion resistance, and increased electrical conductivity. The BCMs are ISO 17025 and ISO 9001 approved for the utmost product reliability. This ensures that the materials include the purest alloys and metals to meet precise customer specifications, as well as offer high-quality, improved performance of implantable medical devices.

The BCMs are extremely flexible with product customization and have very short lead times. They are available in the tightest tolerances for optimization of stringent requirements for implantable devices. The BCM sizes range from a 0.020" diameter (500µm) at a thickness of 0.003" (75µm) to ½" x ½", 1" overall size. 

Devices being implanted into the human body require electronic components that have excellent reliability, extreme strength, biocompatibility, and corrosion resistance. BCMs are ideal for multiple critical life-saving devices in the medical electronic implantable device industry. These applications include pacemakers, neuromodulation, defibrillators, urology, and prostate cancer treatment. BCMs enable wireless charging and resolve the issue of premature device failure by allowing a longer lasting charge.

Tom Bobal, engineering and laboratory services manager at COINING, commented: “Advances in medical implantable technology require the innovative use of leading-edge material solutions. Recognizing this, COINING has developed the BCMs to address Quality of Life Prolonging Technology (QLPT) requirements. The current range of BCM products meet today’s needs for QLPT advances, with new solutions added.”

COINING holds a unique position in the microstamping industry based on its superior cladding capability. Bio-Implantable Composite Materials are made from combining high performance metals such as titanium and gold as well as Kovar and copper. The combination of these alloys delivers the strength, electrical conductivity, and biocompatibility for electronic implantable devices to perform without failure for extended periods of time.

Great Lakes Machinery will represent Kitamura products in Upstate New York; DiPaolo Machine Tools will handle sales and service of Kitamura products in eastern Canada.

Kitamura Machinery, the premier manufacturer of precision horizontal, vertical and 5-axis machining centers, has announced that Great Lakes Machinery has been awarded exclusive rights to represent the company’s products in Upstate New York. Family owned and operated, Great Lakes Machinery has more than 40 years’ experience selling, installing, training, and servicing the latest and most reliable CNC machine tools in the world.

“Great Lakes Machinery takes immense pride in announcing its partnership with Kitamura Machinery in Upstate New York,” says Thomas McArdle, president, Great Lakes Machinery. “Since 1989, we have been servicing customers throughout western and central New York, from Albany to Buffalo, with the motto “Business with Integrity” and we take that very seriously. This exciting new partnership allows us to provide our customer base with the high-quality, high-precision Japanese machine tools with a level of craftsmanship, accuracy, and ingenuity second to none.”

Every Kitamura machining center is designed with superior deflection-free construction, simplicity of operation and unrivaled precision. Craftsmanship in hand scraping, solid box guide ways and gear driven spindle technology combine with state-of-the art innovations to last longer than competitive machines, continuing to provide a return on investment long after units from other manufacturers have been replaced.

“We are very excited to partner with the team at Great Lakes,” says David Lucius, Kitamura’s Vice President of Sales. “They have a long history of providing quality machine tools to customers in Upstate New York. Great Lakes reputation for outstanding service and support will enable our Kitamura users to increase profitability.”

In the other partnership agreement, Kitamura Machinery is partnering with DiPaolo Machine Tools Ltd. as the new exclusive distributorship for the sales and service of Kitamura products in eastern Canada to include Ontario, Quebec, and Maritime Provinces.

Providing sales, service, applications, training, retrofitting, rebuilding and remanufacturing services on machine tools of all kinds, DiPaolo offers single source manufacturing solutions for a wide range of industries from high-speed machining for the die mold industry to automotive, production machining and tool room equipment sales.

“We are excited to represent Kitamura Machinery in Eastern Canada,” says Nelson Martins, president of DiPaolo Machine Tools Ltd. “With more than 50 years of supporting industry through innovative solutions and a dedication to customer service, DiPaolo’s strategic partnership with Kitamura and their full line of vertical, horizontal and 5-axis machining centers will help fill a void in the market.”

“DiPaolo Machine Tools history of rebuilding complex machine tools and commitment to engineered solutions makes for a perfect partnership in representing Kitamura Machinery in Eastern Canada,” states Dave Lucius, vice president of sales at Kitamura Machinery. “We are looking forward to working with DiPaolo’s multi-disciplined team to offer customers improved productivity with State-of-the-art machining centers that offer heavy-duty cutting performance, superior accuracy, operator convenience and long-term reliability.”