CNC Machining Challenges for the Medical Industry
No field presents more challenges to manufacturers than the medical industry. The extreme tolerances are always there, but the rapid rate of change constantly creates new demands, and once in a while, curveballs can come hard and fast.
The Leading Edge
MacFab’s Swiss turning machines, precision milling and lathe work keep us on the leading edge of the medical industry. The molecular precision of mass spectroscopy and mass cytometry means not only the machining but also the surface finishes have to be exactly right. It’s that way with a lot of the components we manufacture. Fittings and connections have tolerances down to a ten-thousandth of an inch. Surface finishes must be flawless to prevent cross-contamination.
We’re capable of milling medical components without coolant to avoid chemical contamination. We can also create parts with an eye on the annealing temperature to avoid changing the crystalline structure and therefore the hardness. We understand that medical parts are dynamic -they’re never just a lump of metal. The work we do to create a component can render it useless if we don’t do our jobs right. We never lose sight of that.
New innovations appear all the time, and MacFab is always adapting. Many of the changes push manufacturing to the limits. With our operators, our Swiss turning machines can generate components that could hardly be imagined a few years ago. We maintain the latest technology, tooling, and processes. Our operators routinely have to learn new technology so we can keep up with the most advanced needs of our clients.
We have the capacity for production runs -not just prototyping. Our five-axis Swiss turning machines give us the accuracy our clients need. They can handle the complexity of these intricate parts, too. They often can produce those parts with a finish-quality surface. If not, we can provide Alodine, anodyne, and electropolishing, along with more commonplace finishes to provide the required surface properties. As new surface treatments are developed, we bring them in-house.
The Curve Balls
The pandemic taught everyone what can be vital and new ways to adapt. Overnight things as innocuous as masks, gloves, and gowns became both vital and scarce. Eventually N95 mask production exploded as much as 8 times pre-pandemic levels. Manufacturers of all sorts suddenly found themselves faced with challenges no one had foreseen. As you might expect, manufacturers already working in the medical industry were the first to respond. Then supply chain problems appeared across the globe and created a new set of issues.
MacFab has extensive supplier relationships to ensure availability for the metal, alloy, and plastic materials we machine. Our software keeps all of our people on top of every project. Changes in an order, whether they’re related to design, quantity, or timeline, are propagated out immediately to everyone.
The lessons learned are taken to heart. Whatever the next curve ball is, MacFab will be as prepared as possible. We understand how crucial the medical industry is, and we take our responsibility to our clients very seriously. In the meantime, we’re going to keep innovating and growing,