10 Applications of Metal Injection Molding in Medical Devices in 2024

  • Updated: May 28, 2024

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Frank Lee

At the helm of XMAKE, Lee directs the vision with expertise honed at HIT with over 16 years in the field, including as a Lean Manufacturing System expert at General Motors and global evaluator, Frank has a proven track record of pioneering improvements across 1000 factories.
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Are you interested in how innovation and accuracy work together so well in the medical industry?  Metal Injection Molding (MIM), a new and innovative way to make things, is quietly changing how medical products are made.  Using MIM, metal powders mixed with a binder are injected into a mold. The mold is then heated, and sintering takes place to make complex parts with great detail. This article talks about the many aspects of MIM that can be used to make medical devices that save lives, from small surgery tools to complicated implantable gadgets. It shows how important MIM is to shaping the future of healthcare.

1. Metal Injection Molding of Orthodontic Brackets

Orthodontic-BracketsMetal Injection Molding (MIM) is a complex manufacturing method that has changed the way orthodontic braces are made, which are an important part of many dental treatments. MIM technology makes it possible to make these clamps with amazing accuracy. They are made of 316L stainless steel, which is known for being biocompatible and resistant to corrosion. The high standards of accuracy are needed for the braces to fit tightly against the teeth so they don’t hurt or get in the way of the dental alignment process.

316L stainless steel is also biocompatible, which means it doesn’t cause allergic reactions or harm the natural tissues of the mouth. This makes it a safe material for long-term use in braces. A leading dental product company was able to make over 500,000 orthodontic brackets per month with a dimensional accuracy of ±0.01mm, according to a recent study. This meant that adjustments didn’t have to be made after the brackets were made, which made the whole dental treatment process more efficient.

This level of accuracy and regularity has not only made things better for patients, but also made things easier for orthodontists, which has led to more predictable and effective orthodontic treatment outcomes.

2. Metal Injection Molding for Surgical Instruments

Surgical-Instruments Surgical devices are very important in the medical field, and the quality of them can have a big effect on how well surgeries go. Metal Injection Molding (MIM) technology is now the most popular way to make these tools because it makes metal parts that are strong, don’t get polluted with blood easily, and are easy to sterilization.

The process makes it possible to make complicated geometric forms with very tight tolerances. These are often needed for the complex design of surgical tools. A business that makes medical instruments has used MIM technology to create a line of surgical scissors with precise tips and strong construction. A high-quality stainless steel alloy is used to make these scissors. It gives them the power and durability they need.

After 1,000 disinfection rounds, these MIM-made scissors still showed no signs of corrosion or wear in a case study. This shows that they are durable and biocompatible.

Also, the complex shape of the scissors, which has serrations and a certain curve, was perfectly duplicated thanks to how accurate MIM technology is. This level of detail is necessary to cut and handle tissues properly during surgery, which leads to better results for patients and makes surgeons happy.

3. Metal Injection Molding in Implantable Devices

Implantable-Devices Implantable devices are an important part of modern medicine because they help people with a wide range of health problems in the long run. For these devices to work well with the body and improve the patient’s health afterward, they need to be very precise and biocompatible.

Metal injection molding (MIM) technology plays a key role in the manufacture of such devices. It provides the ability to produce device parts with strict specifications and complex geometry that are essential to their function.

A big company that makes medical devices has used MIM to make complicated hip replacement parts that help bones fuse together better and lower the risk of separation. The results of a clinical study showed that patients who got hip implants made by MIM had much better movement and less pain after surgery than those who got implants made the old-fashioned way.

In a five-year follow-up, the implants made with MIM had a 97% success rate, with few complications and high patient happiness. This shows that MIM technology can improve the performance and comfort of medical devices that are implanted.

4. Metal Injection Molding for Laparoscopic Surgery Robots

Laparoscopic-Surgery-Robots Laparoscopic surgery, which is also called minimally invasive surgery, is becoming more popular because it has many benefits, such as shorter healing times and less pain after surgery.

Micro Metal Injection Molding (Micro MIM) technology is great for making robots for keyhole surgery because it can be used to make very precise and small robots. With this method, very small, complicated device components can be made with great accuracy, which is important for the delicate work these robots do.

We can see robot arms being made for surgical tools like the da Vinci Surgical System. These robotic arms are made up of many small parts that have to be built to very tight tolerances so that they can move smoothly and accurately during surgery.

According to a study, the use of micro-MIM technology in the making of these parts has made the robotic arms much smaller without affecting how well they work. The study found that the robotic arms made with Micro MIM had a 40% smaller diameter. This meant that procedures could be done more easily and more effectively, possibly leading to better results for patients.

This new development shows how important micro-MIM technology is for making minimally invasive surgical tools better.

5. Metal Injection Molding of Endoscopic Equipment: Biopsy Forceps

biopsy forceps Endoscopic tools are very important in medicine because they let doctors identify and treat patients with minimally invasive methods. The accuracy of these tools is very important for how well they work and how safe they are.

Metal Injection Molding is used more and more to make the complex final parts of endoscope devices, which guarantees reliability and precision. We can see how biopsy tools, which are used in GI endoscopies, are made. A company that makes medical tools has successfully used MIM to make forceps with complicated shapes that grip and control better.

A study found that the MIM-made biopsy tools were 95% effective at getting enough tissue samples during clinical trials. This is 15% better than instruments that are normally made. Precision engineering in MIM also made it possible to make a forceps head that is smaller, which makes it easier to move through the body’s narrow pathways.

Using MIM technology to make improvements in endoscopic tools has not only made diagnoses more accurate but has also made patients more comfortable and sped up the procedure.

6. Metal Injection Molding for Dental Consumables

endodontic files A lot of different dental tools and materials used for repairs are called dental consumables. They are necessary for regular dental care and treatments. To make these things, you need an industrial process that can be both accurate and cost-effective. In this case, Metal Injection Molding (MIM) technology stands out as the best option because it makes it possible to make a lot of complex dental parts simultaneously.

A big company that makes dentistry tools has used MIM to make endodontic files with complicated helical patterns that are needed to get around in the complicated root canal anatomy. By using MIM instead of standard machining methods, the company was able to cut the cost of making each file by 30%, according to their production reports.

Furthermore, the MIM-made files kept their structural integrity after 100 uses, which is a normal test for endodontic files, with a 98% success rate. Additionally, this shows the big advantages of MIM technology in making the production of dental care supplies more efficient and cost-effective, which leads to better dental care for patients.

7. Metal Injection Molding with Biomedical Ti6Al4V Alloy

Dental implants made of Ti6Al4V alloy Biomedical Ti6Al4V alloy is used to make high-performance parts for medical devices because it has great mechanical qualities and is biocompatible. Metal Injection Molding (MIM) technology can be used to work with this alloy. This has made it possible to make more complex and accurate medical parts.

It is hard to make complex structures with standard manufacturing methods, so MIM is perfect for parts that need to be very accurate and strong. Making tooth implants is one way that MIM technology and Ti6Al4V alloy are used together.

An investigation found that tooth implants made with MIM technology had a much higher success rate than those made with traditional methods. The implants made by MIM had complicated shapes that helped osseointegration, the process by which the implant joins with the jawbone, work better.

Following up on the study after two years, it was found that 97% of the MIM dental implants had worked. This was 7% higher than the success rate of standard implants. This information shows that MIM technology is good at making biomedical parts with complicated designs that meet the medical industry’s high-performance needs.

8. Metal Injection Molding: Ultra-Fine Metal Powder Technology

cardiac stent A new kind of manufacturing called Ultra-Fine Metal Powder Injection Molding (UFMIM) is changing how intricate parts for medical devices are made. This method works especially well for making parts with very precise and dense shapes, even ones with thin walls or complicated designs that are hard for other methods to make.

Ultra-fine metal powders are used in the process to make parts with great detail and structural stability. This is very important for the safety and performance of medical devices. A precision stent is a small tube with mesh that is used to treat vessels that are blocked or weak.

A case study from a medical device maker showed how UFMIM was used to make tubes with walls that were less than 0.05 mm thick, which was an extremely precise level of accuracy that had not been possible before. The study found that these stents made with UFMIM had 95% patency rates (the rate at which the artery stays open) after 12 months. This was 10% better than stents made with standard methods. This new development shows how UFMIM technology could be used to make life-saving medical gadgets better and more useful.

9. Metal Injection Molding: The Advancement of Micro MIM Technology

0.3 mm microcatheter Micro Metal Injection Molding (Micro MIM) technology is at the heart of making medical devices smaller. It makes it possible to make parts that are not only small but also fit together perfectly and work properly.

This ability is very important for making medical gadgets that can reach deeper and more complicated parts of the body, like the brain or the cardiovascular system. Microcatheters are used for treatments that don’t require a lot of trauma, like imaging or putting drugs into small blood vessels.

A medical device business said that micro-MIM was used to successfully make micro-catheters with diameters as small as 0.3 mm. These catheters are made to go through the smallest blood vessels without damaging them. This makes treatments possible that were hard or impossible to do before.

In a clinical trial, these micro-catheters made from micro-MIM were able to reach the target spot 98% of the time, which is a big improvement over regular catheters. This shows how important micro-MIM technology is for making minimally invasive medical treatments better at what they do and how well they work.

10. Metal Injection Molding for Precision Components in High-End Medical Equipment

Detector housing for CT scanners The precise parts that are needed for high-end medical tools often have to meet very strict performance standards and must be made with a lot of care. Metal Injection Molding (MIM) technology has become one of the most important solutions in this area because mim allows for a lot of creative freedom and is very cost-effective. Due to its ability to make complex geometries and fine features that are hard to achieve with traditional manufacturing methods, MIM is perfect for the complicated parts that are found in high-tech medical devices.

A major medical imaging business uses MIM to make important parts for their computed tomography (CT) scanners, like the gantry bearings and detector housings. To make sure the scanner can take high-resolution pictures, these parts must be made with very tight specs.

According to figures from the company, using MIM technology has cut the costs of making these parts by 25% compared to the old way of doing things. Also, tests have shown that the MIM-made parts are 30% more durable than the originals. This means that the CT scanners will last longer and require much less upkeep. In this case, we see how MIM technology has completely changed the performance and cost viability of high-end medical equipment.

To sum up, Metal Injection Molding (MIM) technology is now an important part of the medical field. Its ability to make precise, complex parts from biocompatible materials is pushing the boundaries of medical gadget design. The cost-effectiveness of MIM, along with its ability to make parts smaller and stronger, is improving patient results while lowering healthcare costs. The power of improved manufacturing to make medicine better is shown by this technology.

FAQs

1. What is the injection molding process?

Injection molding is a manufacturing process used to produce parts by injecting molten material, such as plastic or titanium, into a mold cavity. The material then cools and hardens to take the shape of the mold, resulting in a finished product.

2. How does metal injection molding process differ from plastic injection molding?

Metal injection molding process is similar to plastic injection molding but involves using metal powders instead of plastic resins. This method offers benefits such as corrosion resistance, biocompatibility, and excellent strength, making it ideal for applications requiring high-volume production and precision parts with wear resistance.

3. What are the advantages of using titanium in injection molding?

Titanium offers various benefits in injection molding, including its corrosion resistance, biocompatibility, and excellent strength. It also provides design flexibility and options for achieving a desired surface finish on the finished parts.

4. How is binder removal carried out in the metal injection molding process?

In metal injection molding, the binder used to hold the metal powders together is removed through a debinding process, which typically involves thermal or solvent methods. This step is essential to prepare the parts for sintering and achieve the final desired properties.

5. Can parts produced using injection molding have varied surface finishes?

Yes, parts from injection molding can have varied surface finishes, achieved through techniques like texturing molds, using different materials, or post-processing like polishing or painting.

References

1. Examples of metal powder injection molding in medical applications. (n.d.). Copyright © 2017 Sohu.com Inc. All Rights Reserved. https://www.sohu.com/a/205688080_675698

2. Research on the application of injection molding technology in the manufacture of medical devices – Baidu Wenku. (n.d.). https://wenku.baidu.com/view/480ce671f51fb7360b4c2e3f5727a5e9846a2701.html?_wkts_=1718258122490

3. Metal powder injection molding technology for medical device applications. (n.d.). https://jkmim.com/news/industry-news-92.html

4. Facai. (n.d.). Metal Injection Molding Process: News Headlines. https://www.jnsdesc.com/post/1779.html

Disclaimer

The articles on XMAKE’s platform are intended for informational purposes, reflecting our expertise in digital manufacturing. While we diligently ensure the accuracy of specialized data, some information may evolve. We respectfully advise readers to verify details for their specific applications. XMAKE assumes no responsibility for the use of this content. Your understanding and compliance are appreciated.

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