The medical industry places some high demands on their equipment and devices, and for good reason. High-performing medical equipment and devices don’t just help healthcare providers do their jobs better—they also have a direct impact on the lives and care of patients. For that reason, it’s important for OEMs to work with metal manufacturing experts who have experience in sheet metal fabrication for healthcare devices.
Sheet metal fabricators who understand the healthcare industry will be familiar with the regulations, biocompatibility needs, and patient safety considerations that must go into each piece of medical equipment. They’ll also be able to help you find solutions that will improve the longevity and long-term performance of medical devices and machinery. What does that expertise look like in practice? We’ll discuss that below.
Material Selection and Surface Finishes
Material selection is vital to any metal manufacturing project, but especially in sheet metal fabrication for healthcare devices. There are a variety of factors that manufacturers must consider when selecting the best material for your components, including:
- Biocompatibility — Metal parts, especially those used in devices or machinery that have direct contact with patients (e.g. components used in implants) must adhere to strict biocompatibility standards.
- Healthcare environment compatibility — The healthcare environment can place numerous demands on metal components. Exposure to chemicals, moisture, cleaning agents, and repeated use are only a few examples. The material for your components should be able to withstand these conditions and many others.
- Sterilization procedures — Along with the conditions of regular use, your metal components will also need to hold up to sterilization procedures. This can include autoclaving (steam sterilization), chemical sterilization, radiation sterilization, and heat sterilization.
- Antimicrobial properties — Finally, it’s paramount that the materials chosen for your medical device have antimicrobial properties for enhanced disinfection and patient safety. Appropriate materials usually include stainless steel, copper, titanium, and zinc.
In terms of surface finish, you’ll also want materials with non-porous characteristics for easier cleaning and sterilization.
Precision and Tolerances in Sheet Metal Fabrication for Healthcare Devices
Precision is one of the most crucial aspects of sheet metal fabrication for healthcare devices due to its complex designs and specific functionalities. Precise sheet metal fabrication ensures that individual components fit together accurately. This, in turn, is what allows the device to function as intended.
Not only does this help ensure that medical devices and equipment meet regulatory standards, but it can also enhance durability. Components that are accurately manufactured are less prone to premature wear, deformation, or failure, leading to a longer lifespan for the device.
Customization and Longevity
Because sheet metal materials are often versatile in terms of design options, manufacturers can create tailored solutions for healthcare devices. Complex and customized shapes, sizes, and configurations make it possible for components to be created to meet specific requirements.
Sheet metal fabrication for healthcare devices is also a process that lends itself well to prototyping. This allows manufacturers and end users to test the design for performance, ergonomics, and patient experiences.
This flexibility in design also enables sheet metal manufacturers to ensure that your components will be able to withstand the daily demands of the healthcare industry.
Assembly and Disassembly Considerations in Sheet Metal Fabrication for Healthcare Devices
Finally, it’s important for manufacturers to consider ease of assembly and disassembly during metal fabrication for healthcare devices. Components that are designed with this in mind help facilitate easier maintenance and repairs. It’s also a critical feature for devices that require periodic servicing. Examples include imaging devices like MRIs or CT scanners; patient monitoring devices like ECG machines and oximeters; and physical therapy equipment.
Advantage Metal Products Provides Next-Level Sheet Metal Fabrication for Healthcare Devices
At Advantage Metal Products, we are a full-service machine shop that specializes in manufacturing custom metal components for a variety of industries, including the medical industry. We’ve been in the metal manufacturing business for more than 30 years. Our California-based facilities are equipped with the latest in advanced technology, and our team of dedicated professionals is here to provide you with the highest level of customer service.