Every human body is different. This can make manufacturing in the medical industry difficult with custom and complex parts. Fortunately, powder metallurgy (PM), such as metal injection molding (MIM) and 3D printing are the right fit for this market
The medical industry requires materials that are compatible, non-corrosive, and have high wear resistance. In addition, it can be difficult to obtain the complex geometries custom for each patient. With traditional processes, it can be difficult to make parts with these demands. However, MIM and 3D printing are capable of producing intricate geometries and work with titanium, nickel alloys, surgical stainless steel, and more materials that work well inside the human body.
Another benefit to these processes is the rough surface area. Parts can be polished if necessary, but for many medical parts, the rough surface area helps bond it to the body. These benefits have increased the PM medical market. In 3D printing the market is expected to exceed $2 billion, and the MIM could exceed $5 billion. This includes, equipment, service, and materials. PM is helping the Medical market in the following ways:
- Structural supports: Artificial limbs, knee and hip joint replacements
- Surgical instruments: Forceps, graspers, knot pushers, and needle drivers
- Medical air compression: SMC eMotor components, value plates, pistons, connecting rods, bearings, and bushings