Diamonds bring precision to tooling and machining, maximizing performance and increasing productivity. So, how can medical device manufacturers get started implementing diamond products onto their shop floors to achieve this goal?
Jeanie Premium Products, a specialty precision diamond tool company launched in 2001 by founder and president Melissa Veeser, partners with Turner Tooling to determine which diamond tooling or system best meets their needs. Medical manufacturing solutions include superabrasive diamond and carbon, boron, nitride (CBN) wheels, tight tolerance wire guide bushings, special treated work rest blades, diamond-tipped blade holders, high quality funnels and collets, diamond wear parts and dressing tools. Whether it is guide wires, implants, stents, bone screws, surgical instruments, all these devices can benefit from using superabrasives. Base materials include nitinol, stainless steel, and titanium.
“We look at what they are currently using and if there is an area that superabrasives and diamonds can benefit them, we introduce that option to them because they will last longer,” Veeser says. “There are a lot of variables, it could create a better surface finish for them and result in less downtime.”
Whether a company needs to rework existing tools and cutters, or implement entirely new products for their processes, there are key steps to achieving optimal results.
Step 1: Define approach, determine a suitable solution
The first step toward implementing superabrasive or diamond tooling products is defining the client’s process approach. By understanding the company’s history and process, Jeanie Premium Products experts can determine which solution is most suitable. They look at each point in the process to find out which areas are performing well and which areas need to be addressed. Often, there will be multiple areas that diamond tooling can improve their current process. Jeanie Premium then will suggest ways to improve the process or introduce a new method. For example, they begin by examining the current wheel, tool life, surface finish needed, and coolant and filtration used, to understand what issues the customer is facing. From there, Jeanie experts determine if a new type of wheel or tool needs to be implemented.
Step 2: Production, implementation
Among the several ways that companies can implement superabrasive and diamond products in their manufacturing processes is implementing new tooling as well as reworking existing tools. Examples include replating used diamond and CBN wheels, and retooling carbide tooling with diamond for longer life. Used tooling gets sent to Jeanie Premium Products where the worn plating or carbide is removed and new plating or diamond is applied.
Then, they grind it in to a tight tolerance to whatever dimensions are needed.
For direct grinding wheels, the customer provides a part print to distinguish the type of form or component that must be produced. Then, details can be determined to make the new wheel. These wheels don’t require dressing. After they are used, they can be stripped of their original material to be re-plated with diamond superabrasives, giving them a new wheel at a fraction of the cost.
Diamond rotary dressers are used on Jeanie Premium Products’ wheels to speed up and simplify the dressing process, performing more accurately and quickly. Rotary dressers are dependent upon the type of bond, wheel, and grit they were using.
Dressing diamond wheels eliminates particle buildup (loading), allowing them to run longer and cleaner. When the wheel is clean, new abrasive surfaces are exposed and it achieves more accurate grinding. This is especially important for hard-to-grind materials such as nitinol, which is used to make guide wires for surgery or stent placement. The wires provide a smooth, fine finish as they are ground to the size of a hair, allowing them to easily maneuver into the body.
Step 3: Outcomes, advantages
Due to their hardness levels, heat resistance, and sharp cutting edges, diamond tools can significantly reduce costs and improve productivity. No matter the application, diamonds provide several advantages. When used to rework a tool, the client avoids having to throw out the entire tool. Reworking the tool is less expensive and it produces a stronger material with increased flexibility and longer tool life. Depending on the type of finish required for the part, diamonds can also eliminate some post-process steps, such as polishing.
“When diamond is applied to wear parts, it’s increasing the tool life 10x to 25x. So, say if they had a part in there and they had an abrasive material such as nitinol that was running on or across that part, it would last longer. They aren’t changing out that part as often. And there are other hidden benefits too, such as producing fewer purchase orders and reducing scrap,” Veeser explains.
“Overall, diamond tooling can be very beneficial because it streamlines the process for medical manufacturing,” Veeser says. “We implement changes and introduce clients to new products, which sometimes includes validation. We look at each project and review it with the customer so they are engaged in creating cost savings and synchronized processes.”
After a project ends, Veeser encourages clients to look for more uses for diamond solutions. As a partner, Jeanie Premium Products keeps clients up-to-date with the latest products to be proactive in meeting any future needs.
Jeanie Premium Products