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Aluminum extrusions are a fantastic way to maintain product quality and reduce development costs. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are extensively transforming their product development, moving away from expensive materials and opting for aluminum extrusions. As a matter of fact, the utilization of aluminum extrusions is now a widely accepted manufacturing practice, and the healthcare industry makes no exception to this trend.
The high strength-to-weight ratio of aluminum extrusions works well for a variety of applications in medical devices. As the temperature decreases, aluminum becomes tougher – steel and plastics become weak and breakable, making aluminum an excellent option, especially at low temperatures, to produce various medical and healthcare items.
Besides, aluminum is roughly one-third the weight of steel, which helps to minimize the total weight of the load. Another aspect that medical products manufacturers consider is that riveted aluminum rolling shapes can be replaced by a single extruded aluminum profile, resulting in higher strength and eliminating joining costs.
The ease with which aluminum alloys are extruded allows the material to mold into virtually infinite shapes and sizes while maintaining desired accuracy tolerances. A selection of special features can be used in designs like lap joints, dovetails, or hinges. These characteristics minimize development steps and make it easier to build when combined with other components.
In the last couple of decades, aluminum extrusion companies have significantly improved their capacities to meet the increasing market demands and to provide superior products with superior quality that can serve even in the most fragile industry, like healthcare. With enough research, you can find the right manufacturer for your particular needs.
On the other hand, manufacturers must continue to follow trends and learn the determining factors and misunderstandings about the materials used in product development to transform further and improve their products. Without further ado, here’s everything that you should know about how aluminum extrusions help medical product development.
Why Aluminum Is Better Than Stainless Steel?
OEMs have a widespread misconception that stainless steel is a more suitable material for medical product development and manufacturing. It is also said that it is cleaner than aluminum.
However, products manufactured with aluminum extrusion can become more hygienic and less penetrable than stainless steel products. All that’s needed is the proper finishing with anodization. Using the right finishing methods enables aluminum’s chemical properties to fend off chemical absorption and corrosion, crucial for avoiding contamination and making it easier to clean.
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Aluminum extrusion is well suited to various medical devices due to its high strength-to-weight ratio, which OEMs can confidently assuredly use in the replacement of steel parts. This switch drastically reduces load weight since aluminum is 60% lighter than steel.
Aluminum Extrusion’s Critical Factors That Help Medical Products Development
Surface cosmetics are one of the key considerations when determining aluminum extrusion facilities, depending on the medical component’s application and purpose. OEMs must assess their client’s surface specifications so that they can prepare and preserve the essential characteristics. Various factors, including alloy selection, design characteristics, and final extrusion handling, will impact surface finishing.
Medical device operators may do multiple things to help develop the designs for medical components with aluminum extrusion. First, they need to consider the end use of the commodity and communicate it with the supplier.
Medical device designers must fully understand and share this knowledge with their aluminum component manufacturer when designing new components. The more a manufacturer knows about the product’s final use, the more constructive design advice they can provide.
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This is because there are different ways to fulfill design specifications with aluminum rather than with alternative materials in a more safe, efficient, and economical manner. The shared knowledge of the component features with your product manufacturer and supplier will lead to faster project initiation times and product creation.
Another important thing is to choose the right aluminum alloy for production and product use, depending on the medical product you want to manufacture. When selecting the preferred aluminum alloy, it is crucial for design engineers to understand the complete and functional specifications for their critical design components, their estimated annual consumption, and their production process.
Different alloys have different characteristics, and for some processes, some are better than others. Some alloys extrude faster than others, some can be bent smoother, and some can better suit the end needs. Alloy selection may also have a significant influence on surface finishing.
The areas of the component that are vital to its work are also important. Designers who aim to attain benefits such as improvement in resistance, lightweight, or simple assembly with matching parts should consider their components’ critical dimensions and characteristics to optimize aluminum’s services. In the case of wall thickness or profile modification, which reduces the components’ weight, aluminum extrusions give an optimal strength-to-weight ratio while ensuring overall strength.
The designers also benefit from their understanding, especially in terms of part functions and final assembly, and the combination of parts. The aluminum extrusion process is well-suited due to its flexibility to incorporate features that make the assembly with their matching pairs easier.
For example, a snap-fit hook makes it easier to assemble without special equipment. Additionally, characteristics such as dovetail slots, vent bosses, and inner screw hunts will substantially reduce the time of assembly with mating components.
What The Future Holds?
Like advancements in recent decades of electronic devices, medical devices have decreased in size and weight to increase functionality, mobility, and handling. This shift pushes OEMs to find alternatives to fit in with the latest technology. Using aluminum extrusions with smaller profiles is worth considering to reduce material costs even though the original part was manufactured from a different material.
Aluminum manufacturers continue to develop new alloys that can be easily extruded into thinner sizes, keep light in weight, and stay solid enough to cope with the everyday uses in medical or home environments. Conversely, designers should ensure that they have an advanced aluminum extrusion knowledge and know what to expect from professional extruders when placing their orders.
Aluminum extrusion is an ideal manufacturing technique for the ever-evolving demand in medical devices based on its period of short production, low costs, and adaptability.