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Surgical instruments still involve a significant degree of manual craftsmanship to manufacture. But advances in surgical instruments technology today intertwine with expert handiwork to produce precise tools that make the difference between life and death.

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Drive the furnace temperature up to 750°C to achieve austenitization in alloys

Surgical instruments are crafted from anti-corrosion materials, typically alloys composed of iron and carbon. The most common base material, Austenitic Steel Type 316, is also known as surgical stainless steel.

The austenite phase in alloys forms at temperatures exceeding 750°C but not reaching 1450°C. During austenitization, the carbon content drops as the heating rate rises, but it settles after the complete dissolution of cementite and ferrite in the material.

Use polishers to even out juts caused by surgical instruments technology

Forged tools are ground and sanded to shape precise, even contours. But surgical instruments technology causes burrs during the machining stage.

Scrub your forged scalpels and forceps in a barrel finisher to smoothen and buff them. Porcelain chips or other polishing compounds in the scrubbing equipment scour the instruments in a circular vibrating drum.

Control ductility in the final product with steady annealing

Achieving the correct annealing is critical to keeping surgical tools ductile. Treat the hardened products in a furnace to above the recrystallization point of the base materials but below their melting point. This varies between 60°C and 290°C depending on the composition.

This process evens out irregularities in the molecular structure of the metals and allows new grains to develop. Ductile metals are better able to handle concentrations of stress.

Repeat passivation techniques flush out iron reactivity

Frequent exposure to body fluids makes surgical instruments susceptible to corrosion. Any residue of free iron on the surface of the objects poses a risk.

Immerse the finished product in mild oxidants, such as concentrated nitric acid, to eliminate the chemical reactivity of iron. The passivation process dips the instruments in a series of pools until any trace of iron is neutralized.

Processing steps involved in surgical-instrument making

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