Case Study: Liquidmetal Alloys in Minimally Invasive Medical Equipment

Case Study: Liquidmetal Alloys in Minimally Invasive Medical Equipment

With a host of procedures covering a wide range of physical demands, minimally invasive medical devices are produced by the millions every year. Common procedures include aortic valve surgery, appendectomies, biopsy tumors, and arthroscopy of most joints. Many devices, or the components they are composed of, contain parts that are currently CNC machined, injection molded, investment cast, stamped, or fine blanked. Liquidmetal is often a good alternative to these expensive, time-consuming processes.

The amorphous metal’s strongest asset is likely its incredible precision and repeatability. When it comes to surgery on the human body, every patient and doctor demands the highest level of precision and accuracy of the equipment used. Amorphous alloys offer precision in a relatively uncharted territory with part-to-part variation at 0.0003-0.0006” and dimensional tolerances at 0.0005- 0.0015”. CNC machining generally can achieve part-to-part variation of 0.0005-0.0010” and dimensional tolerances of 0.0007-0.0015”.

Durability is a critical factor in all medical equipment, but especially components that are expected to perform with high precision in harsh environments. Liquidmetal amorphous alloys’ strength, hardness, and corrosion resistance perform equally or better than commonly used materials like 17-4PH, 316L, and 420 stainless steels.

Cost reduction surrounding medical procedures and devices is continuous and exhaustive. Liquidmetal alloys offer downstream cost improvements that other processes such as CNC machining cannot achieve. By eliminating part assemblies, achieving improved properties, and improving total process cycle time, Liquidmetal’s one-step part forming process allows manufacturers to think differently.

For more information including welding, biocompatibility test results, and design guidelines, click the link below to download this detailed case study.