How are Ceramic Parts used for In-Body Medical Applications?

Scott D. Mittl, Vice President of Sales at Insaco®, gave us an insight into how they serve customers by manufacturing their ceramic part designs using materials such as sapphire for in-body medical applications.

Please could you give our readers an overview of Insaco and the work you do?

Insaco fabricates precision machined technical ceramic parts for customized applications. The applications for these parts are varied and encompass high technical development across all industry sectors, particularly where conventional materials are not well-suited to our customer’s end-use applications. Insaco’s operations achieve extremely tight and consistent tolerances and we continue to invest in state-of-the-art technology to stay at the forefront of the industry.

Insaco's first work was fabricating sapphire parts using diamond grinding to machine the complex shapes. Following their leadership in fabricating this hard, fragile material, we began machining other hard technical ceramics including alumina, zirconia, silicon carbide, glass and fused silica.

How can Insaco’s parts be used by our customers in medical applications?

Insaco machines complicated ceramic parts which can assist with various medical applications from brain function, to hip movement, to helping artificial hearts pump. Our customers often require tolerances as tight as millionths of an inch. We specialize in machining to these tolerances for demanding applications.

What types of ceramic components does Insaco manufacture for in-body medical applications?

Insaco manufactures parts from technical ceramics including sapphire, glass and quartz to very precise dimensions.These ceramic components are customer designed to leverage strength, wear resistance, bio compatibility and tight tolerances.

What makes sapphire an ideal material for in-body medical applications?

In-body medical applications demand materials which are strong, resistant to wear, biocompatible, and fit tight tolerances.

Sapphire is the single crystal form of Aluminium Oxide which is created at a melting point of  2040°C.  Although it is Sapphire is resistant and impervious to chemicals. Importantly, polished sapphire exhibits non-thrombogenic behaviour, which makes it ideal to use for in-body medical applications.

What are the challenges of machining sapphire for medical applications?

The difficulty of sapphire as a material is not the selection of it for medical applications - sapphire is usually a necessity when used, due to the inappropriate properties of other materials for certain demanding applications. The difficulty lies in the ability to create the part in a useful configuration using sapphire. Grinding the material to the required size and tolerance, and potentially polishing the material, can be a challenge.

Insaco has the experience to offer advice to those who are faced with the difficult challenge of manufacturing sapphire parts for their applications.

Where can our readers find out more information on the materials that Insaco offers for their applications?

Insaco machines sapphire parts as well as other hard technical ceramic materials including alumina, zirconia, silicon carbide, glass that includes quartz and fused silica. Insaco's machining is not limited to one industry in particular. As well as serving the medical industry, Insaco machines materials for sectors including defense, aerospace, semiconductor, life sciences, and instrumentation.

Since Insaco machines materials rather than producing them, Insaco is able to offer unbiased advice on the advantages and disadvantages of materials from appropriate producers to assist our customers. Insaco’s online designer’s guide allows you to select material properties that you are focusing on for your application and provides you with information about which materials from Insaco’s database fit the properties that you are prioritizing. For more information on materials for an in-body application or other industrial applications, please go to www.insaco.com.

About Scott D. Mittl

Scott D. Mittl, Vice President of Sales, has been an employee of Insaco since 1990 and is responsible for sales engineering activity including quotations and account management.

He takes an aggressive proactive approach to developing new customers and new product applications. This approach includes developing subcontractors to further enhance Insaco's machining capability in any non-metallic material.

He has the technical expertise and experience in materials to aid customers in successfully designing products out of materials commonly machined by Insaco. He has a B.A. in Applied Sciences and a B.S. in Metallurgy and Materials Engineering from Lehigh University and is a member of the American Ceramic Society.

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