Additive Manufacturing is playing a vital role in reshaping the world of medical implants. Here, Mukesh Kumar – our Global Technology Director – takes a look at some of the latest developments at Lincotek Medical.
May 27, 2021 | Orthopedics are at the heart of the Lincotek Medical business. We’ve been involved in the construction of metal implants – from components intended for large joint reconstruction through to the repair of shoulders or extremities. Another important area of the market though is the manufacture of metal surgical instruments that are a complex shape or require a lighter design and fabrication.
We’ve invested massively in post processing, ensuring that Additive Manufacturing (AM) lines are integrated with CNC machining stations. That way, we can support our customers with the delivery of finished, shaped parts. We have duplicated the vacuum heat treatment line, which is essential for metal oxygen/nitrogen sensitive alloys. With 100,000 implants emerging from one facility alone each year, it’s important that we have large-scale production running 24/7. The addition of this state-of-the-art furnace ensures we have a validated back-up production line, with the flexibility to apply a specific heating or cooling recipe.
In addition, we have validated Calcium Phosphate electrochemical coating for the application on AM porous structures. It can coat deep inside, on to the pores’ walls, while keeping the porous network pervious. A key advantage is that the coating is capable of stimulating bone ingrowth and accelerating the secondary fixation. We’ve achieved the same with our TiNbN coating, which is now validated for use on AM implants and wear surfaces, with a typical application being femoral knee components.
Last, but not least, we have invested significantly in a proprietary technology (XCleanTM), which is able to remove the entrapped powder from inside the porous structure. We can clean up an AM porous implant to appropriate safety levels within a validated, fast and efficient process.