ActOn Case Studies

How to Polish Knee Implants in 60 Minutes and at a Lower Cost?

Traditionally, finishing knee implants at large scale involves mechanical processes like robotised belt polishing or abrasive polishing. These methods work by generating friction to the piece and against a generic abrasive. Those processes, however, tend to present some issues as they can be time consuming and components might need rework or scrapping.

In this case study we discuss about a more cost-efficient solution which improves the surface finish of knee implants and makes them more functional, while increasing their lifespan.

Project Background

The client is a multinational medical company whose activity revolves around medical device development and manufacturing with strong presence in orthopedic implant manufacturing sector. As this organisation focuses on creating innovative solutions in orthopedics, they needed to:

  • Improve the production efficiency and quality of casting cobalt-chrome (CoCr) femoral components, which represented 80% of the customer’s manufacturing.
  • Polish knee implants that had been previously pre-processed by manual polishing with belts, ceramic, plastic and nutshell abrasive polishing and a final manual buffing.
  • Achieve a mirror surface finishing; a significant roughness reduction; and a Ra goal of 0,05 micrometers.

Solution: Polishing Knee Implants in 60 Minutes

A batch of samples of cobalt-chrome femoral components were prepared for trials, in different sizes. The aim of the trial is to define the ideal process parameters & steps to reach the final finish, with less process time and lower costs.

The equipment recommended was a DLyte PRO500DLyte Technology, a compact machinery with high output, specially designed for mass production (it can treat up to 24 knee implants per cycle).

The processing time was 60 minutes with a capacity of 24 pieces per batch. The starting average roughness was 0.2 microns. After two steps of abrasive finishing with ceramic and plastic media the final roughness was below 0.05 microns.

The DLyte Process Benefits

 

  • Offers finishing solution for a wide range of materials
  • Component’s geometry and tolerance is preserved
  • Homogeneous results every time
  • Can reduce the roughness over 80% without side effects
  • Longer lifespan for components
  • Biocompatibility and non-cytotoxicity proved
  • This finishing process implies a production cost reduction of over 60%.

Results

  • The knee implants were mirror surface finished; and the roughness was reduced under 0,05 micrometers.
  • Finishing cost per piece was reduced to €2 for 5 years with 40,000 pieces/year (this includes equipment and customised holder investment)
  • The processing time was improved; to 60 minutes with a capacity of 24 pieces per batch.
  • Parts were finished to client’s specifications, without altering the geometry.
  • DLyte PRO500 offered a high-quality repeatable process.

Before / After

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Interested in Finding out More?

If you would like to learn more about the process steps and technology used, you can request the Knee Implants Case Study.  You can also email our technical team for technical support with your medical and healthcare components.

Request The Knee Implants Case Study

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