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Fri, 26 Jun 2015

Metal Injection Moulding overcomes cost and strength issues for Queen’s Award winning surgical device manufacturer

Surgical device manufacturer, SRA Developments, has cited its partnership with Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) specialist, CMG Technologies, as one of the main reasons behind the success of a Queen’s Award winning product.

SRA Developments has worked closely with Suffolk based CMG Technologies for more than 12 years following an initial meeting to identify if the company’s MIM process could be used to manufacture the hinged jaw for its Lotus dissecting torsional shear.

The single use shear hand piece is used in conjunction with an ultrasonically activated blade to perform intricate haemostatic dissection of human tissue in a range of surgical procedures. One of the most important components in the hand piece is the metal jaw which forms the cooperative element of the powered shear.

Before SRA approached CMG Technologies, the critical tissue clamping jaw was made from machined stainless steel bar stock, but this was causing a number of problems. It quickly transpired that the initial prototype jaws were not strong enough. This prompted a review of alternative biocompatible materials which resulted in Hastelloy, an alloy with high Nickel and Chromium content, being identified as the preferred choice. Not only is this material extremely strong, it is also corrosion resistant.

This decision meant that Metal Injection Moulding was the only viable production method for SRA, as the company’s Managing Director Dr Mike Young, explains, “Having focused our design concepts, we then had to find a specialist company capable of delivering Hastelloy mouldings to consistent dimensional tolerance and structural integrity.

“We reviewed several EU and US based MIM suppliers and chose CMG Technologies, which at that time was trading as Egide. The company offered a superior product at a price which was approximately 25% of the machining cost for stainless steel. If we had been left with no alternative other than machining for manufacturing the jaws from Hastelloy, it would have been considerably more expensive – possibly even prohibitively so.”

CMG’s capabilities ensured the whole production process could be kept in-house which meant that SRA was able to maintain strict control over the quality of the finished product, as CMG’s Technical Sales and Marketing Director, Rachel Garrett, confirms, “From initial tool design and build, to compounding the feedstock, through to the final sintering stage – we carry out the whole MIM process at our Suffolk facility.

“This approach allows us to manage the consistency and dimensional repeatability of the parts we produce, enabling us to supply components of unrivalled quality for customers in a range of industry sectors.”

SRA Developments was founded by Dr Young in 1978 and the Lotus dissecting torsional shear, which won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation in 2010, is now sold in more than 30 countries worldwide.

Dr Young concludes, “CMG Technologies has proved itself to be a creative and totally reliable source of high tolerance MIM components, without whose supportive input our Lotus Torsional shear would have been almost impossible to create.”

The precision capability of CMG Technologies’ metal injection moulding process has facilitated close working partnerships with a number of leading medical device manufacturers, including Swann Morton and DTR Medical, who rely on the independently owned company to provide complex parts that cannot be manufactured using traditional methods due to prohibitive costs or design issues.

Please email RGarrett@cmgtechnologies.co.uk or call 01394 445100 to find out how Metal Injection Moulding from CMG Technologies can ensure your medical and surgical devices are manufactured to the highest standards possible.

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