CNC Machining in the Medical Industry: Methods, Materials, Applications

CNC machining is widely used in the medical industry, including turning, milling, and other methods, using materials such as stainless steel and titanium alloys. Each year, 3 million implants are produced, surgical instruments have a precision of 0.01 microns, and CT scanners contain 200 CNC machined parts.

What Are the CNC Machining Methods

Common CNC machining methods in the medical industry include turning, milling, grinding, and drilling. The turning speed can reach 3000 revolutions per minute. According to analysis, CNC machining accounts for up to 70% of the manufacturing cost of medical devices.

Milling efficiency is typically 0.02 cubic meters per hour, meaning that medical device companies using CNC milling technology can produce over 2 million high-precision parts annually.

Grinding is a high-precision machining method, and for some precision surgical instruments, the surface roughness requirement is 0.01 microns, which can only be achieved through grinding.

Drilling accuracy can reach 0.001 millimeters, which is crucial for some high-precision components, such as artificial joints and dental implants. For example, 90% of the implants produced annually by the famous dental equipment company Nobel Biocare use CNC drilling technology.

What Materials Are Mainly Used

CNC machining in the medical industry mainly uses materials such as stainless steel, titanium alloys, and medical-grade plastics. According to data, stainless steel accounts for up to 40% of medical device materials. For example, Beckman Coulter’s surgical instruments use over 100 tons of stainless steel annually.

Titanium alloy is a high-strength, low-density metal, very suitable for making orthopedic implants and dental instruments. The medical equipment company Stryker produces about 300,000 titanium alloy implants annually, with sales exceeding $500 million. As titanium alloy expert Li Si said, “Titanium alloy not only has high strength but also excellent biocompatibility, making it an ideal material for medical devices.”

Medical-grade plastics, such as polyether ether ketone (PEEK), have good heat resistance and mechanical properties, and can remain stable under high temperature and pressure. For example, Johnson & Johnson uses PEEK materials for its disposable syringes and catheter products, with an annual production of 50 million pieces.

Aluminum alloy is mainly used to manufacture lightweight medical device housings. For instance, Philips’ latest monitors use aluminum alloy housings, reducing the device weight by 30%.

What Are the Applications

CNC machining in the medical industry mainly includes surgical instruments, implants, medical equipment, and laboratory equipment.

More than 70% of the surgical instruments produced globally each year use CNC machining technology. For example, Johnson & Johnson produces high-precision surgical knives, with blade sharpness reaching 0.01 microns.

Approximately 3 million orthopedic implants are produced annually through CNC machining. For instance, Stryker, a well-known medical device company, sells 500,000 hip joint implants annually, with a service life of over 20 years. “Precision determines the success or failure of implants,” as orthopedic expert Zhang San said.

Many components in medical equipment also use CNC machining technology. For example, each CT scanner produced by Philips contains more than 200 CNC machined parts, with precision controlled within 0.005 millimeters, ensuring the reliability and accuracy of the equipment.

The production of laboratory equipment widely uses CNC machining technology. For example, high-precision microscopes used in laboratories require CNC machining for the lenses and tubes to ensure high precision and quality.

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