Trends: Additive 3D Printing, Artificial Intelligence, Micro Machining and New Materials
Over the last few decades, there have been changes in manufacturing method such as additive processes like 3D printing, utilizing plastics, composites, and metals for product applications. We have now started the conversion and use of Artificial Intelligence for product design. CAD software in the near future will create a basic design and with a set of design parameters, the computer will provide hundreds or thousands of possibilities that all meet the design constraints. This is an exciting time to be an engineer, because we are able to innovate and utilize these new methods for design and manufacture. Many of these applications can be customized to specific customer shapes or desires. This sounds great, and definitely will work in many applications, but some products will need material that cannot be 3D printed, or require precision that is currently not available with additive processes such as 3D printing or a conventional poured casting. Additionally, the drive to miniaturize is pushing milli and micro machining.Milli-Machining can conventionally drill down to 0.001’’ (25uM) diameters. End mill work to 0.008’’ (200uM) is very feasible when utilizing high RPM spindles (100K+ RPM).
This meets many of the demands of miniaturization.
Trend: Precision and Finish
Although this area may not be considered a trend, it is still significant. Improvements in component precision improve the functionally, product performance and feel of many medical devices. Ultra smooth finishes (measured in Ra) allow products to move with little friction. Optical based devices utilize special matte finishes to minimize reflection and absorb stray light. This compounding has the ability to control many characteristics with consistency and precision.
The methods to control precision are largely performed by controlling process temperatures within the environment and machine. Processing parts utilizing single complex and multi-axis setups combined with inspection monitoring provide consistent parts. These manufacturing methods and other methods optimize Protomatic Inc. to specialize in the manufacture of precision medical devices. Highly complex components are created in our facility on a regular basis. We offer a wide variety of services and capabilities along with a vast range of material to ensure the most precise, quality part. Our dedicated staff has the experience and knowledge to create even the most complex components, from concept to finished product.
Protomatic has the capacity to produce one precise part, or thousands. Prototype or production, our Facility houses 2-3 Axis CNC Lathes, up to 8 Axis Multi-Axis CNC, robotic feed systems, and 3-5 Axis CNC Mills. In addition to our state of the art machinery, we offer several finishing processes which include media tumbling, micro blasting, polishing, CO2 cleaning, thermal stabilizing, and laser engraving.
Protomatic is a leading manufacturer of medical components with an emphasis on orthopedic, cardiovascular, biomedical, medical device and surgical tools.These components typically require very tight tolerances, and special inspection processes. Our Inspection/Quality division includes vision inspection, 3D microscope inspection, Tally form and Surf profilometers. We have Coordinate Measurement Machines to accurately measure parts as well as precision bore gauges and other instruments calibrated to ISO and NIST standards. We are ISO 9001:2015 and 13485:2016. Our certifications and awards are a prime example of our established position as a leader in medical device precision.