Surface finishing techniques for medical implants

Nowadays, medical implant manufacturers are asked to continually elevate their surface finish and profile accuracy standards, with medical implants more in demand than ever before. Kemet International Ltd has spent many years automating, developing, and perfecting precision surface finishing processes, specifically for the medical industry.

Surface finishing techniques play a major part in the development of both medical devices and orthopedic implants. For that essential shine, medical equipment needs to be finished efficiently - which is achieved by selecting the right surface finishing tool.

There is a high demand for dimensional accuracy within orthopedic implants, which can be achieved by using lapping and polishing processes. In order to achieve professional performance, medical devices also have intricate parts, such as blades, that need to be finished perfectly.

The risk in these devices - in terms of sharpness, roughness, dimensions, alignment, and so on - can be eliminated with this technique. Naturally, therefore, an accurate measurement is required, which can be provided courtesy of the surface finishing techniques mentioned above.

Surface finishingImage credit: Shutterstock / Denis---S

Kemet process development laboratories have successfully developed special-purpose polishing machines for a wide range of medical implants. The latest development from Kemet is the KemiSphere II: otherwise known as a bench top spherical/ball lapper/polisher, which can lap and polish spherical forms to more than five microns roundness with a mirror finish.

The process is simple and consists of two stages, offering an extremely economical and highly repeatable way of processing spherical forms to a wide variety of surface finishes. The system can also process a myriad of different materials either to be lapped as an individual component or to match lap spherical forms together.

Not only can the new product from Kemet process all joint sizes and materials up to 60 mm in diameter (or 100 mm with the floor-standing version), but Kemet also offers to demonstrate its process within its testing labs by producing test data and samples so that all questions can be answered prior to ordering a machine.

This also means that machines can be sent pre-programmed and ready for use regardless of their intended application.

When it comes to the manufacture of tibial trays and hips, most of the production costs are associated with process consumables and, as a manufacturer of these, Kemet is there to help reduce them.

More importantly, Kemet’s expertise in surface finishing allows the company to develop new processes and consumables while ensuring increased productivity and reduced cost per part.

The improvements to the process - be it less rework, faster throughput or lower consumption - tend to outweigh the cost associated with introducing new consumables.

The Kemet Tibial Polishing Cell has been specifically developed for finishing large production quantities of knee replacement parts, such as Tibial Trays. A typical cell contains Kemet smoothing, polishing and cleaning systems.

Manufacturers now have the added benefits of improved product quality, greatly reduced costs and faster production. All Kemet Polishing Systems, be they small manual processes or large fully automated cells, are serviced and supported by Kemet.

The company is also a key manufacturer of polishing consumables and can take full responsibility for all aspects of production relating to one of its finishing processes. At present, all of the process development work is being carried out free of charge.

A contributing factor to making the company a global leader in this technology is Kemet’s ability to develop, supply and support such processes. In addition to precision surface finishing, Kemet also offers:

  • Ultrasonic cleaning tanks ranging from 40 to 160 liters, with over 400 high-performance formulations to choose from.
  • Aqueous cleaning fluids are perfectly suited for the medical industry with validation standards of ISO 19227-2018 and biocompatibility standards of ISO 10993-18.
  • Passivation lines that comply with ISO 7 clean room.
  • Vacuum solvent cleaners - minimal loss of solvent, significantly cutting process costs.

Contact Kemet today to find out more about the solutions provided, or to arrange lapping or polishing trials.

About Kemet International Ltd

Established in 1938, Kemet International Limited is at the forefront of precision lapping and polishing technology, using Diamond Compound and Diamond Slurry, which are manufactured in house to ISO 9001:2015 quality standards. We offer innovative solutions to operations which demand precision finish and close tolerance. Kemet's highly specialised and accurate lapping machines can machine a wide variety of materials for numerous applications.

Operating at the forefront of orthopaedic implant polishing technology for over 20 years, Kemet International Ltd has transformed the quality and cost of manufacture of tibial trays and hip heads/cups.

Kemet's process Laboratories are fully equipped with the latest range of Lapping Machines, Polishing Machines, Ultrasonic Cleaners, Mould Polishing and Metallographic & Geological thin sectioning Equipment to carry out tests on customers' samples. In addition, our team of industrial chemists are able to manufacture bespoke diamond lapping and diamond polishing compounds and diamond suspensions.

Let Kemet help you develop a new process, reduce costs or solve immediate technical problems. Kemet offer training courses covering all aspects of lapping and polishing in our Lapping Laboratories or at your own premises. Kemet International actively takes part in the leading Trade Shows and Exhibitions and have received many awards for our achievements internationally.

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Last updated: Nov 21, 2022 at 4:44 AM


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