Medical wire requires the utmost precision. Wire components for medical devices must be fit-for-purpose, whether that includes featuring the right conductivity abilities, fatigue resistance, flexibility, or any number of capabilities required for the given application. Manufacturers must get the configuration right, as failure over time could be disastrous for the patient.
For long-term usage products such as cochlear implants and pacemakers, precision medical wire is tested repeatedly to ensure it will never fail. Sandvik had been rigorously testing its stainless-steel materials and developing its knowledge of metallurgy long before its foray into the medical device sector, but since introducing the EXERA® brand, the company has led the way with innovative design and development of precision medical wire.
By continually developing new techniques, Sandvik provides the medical device sector with the innovation that it needs. One example is the development of a manufacturing technique that joins a multi-strand cable made from ultrafine wires to a single-ended wire in such a way that the joint strength is greater than the individual wire strength. The method that had typically been used prior to this innovation included the use of a mechanical crimp connection between the different elements. However, the reliability of the mechanical crimp connector was not sufficient for long-term implants, because of issues related to the mechanical joint.
According to Sandvik’s business unit manager at Palm Coast, Florida, Gary Davies: “In our commitment to meet the needs of our customers, we systematically collect data about new and growing challenges facing them. Our engineers and specialists work closely with customers to jointly discover ways of addressing these challenges with new or modified products.”
“For products that need to last, we first select alloys and coating materials that are highly stable in the body and also processed in a way to limit problems from known and well-understood failure points, such as cyclic fatigue.”
Sandvik is addressing issues that medical device manufacturers have faced in the past, present and future. As well as learning from industry mistakes and solving problems that plague manufacturers, Sandvik has its eye on the ball when it comes to future innovation.
“Bringing digitalisation into the medical industry is one of the biggest innovations,” Davies explains. “For example, having an app to monitor your blood sugar levels when you have diabetes gives you a freedom you never had before, that is life-changing. I think in general that will continue to enable more and more “health self-service”, for example, to monitor your heart function while living a normal life at home.
“Making the medical devices smaller is a big innovation; you want to minimise invasive operations in order to allow people to heal more quickly at home rather than at the hospital so that they can return to leading a normal lifestyle again. Sandvik’s precision wire-based components are extremely small, which is why we are in the right place to lead the way for the future.”
For more information about EXERA® fine medical wire, including a full list of materials or to contact Sandvik about developing a medical field device, visit their website or download the whitepaper below.