How Electroplating Technology Optimizes the Design of Medical Devices?

Label:Medical Devices, Electroplating Technology, Tools and Instruments, Surgical Instruments

Oct 8, 202116140

How Electroplating Technology Optimizes the Design of Medical Devices?

In the past, electroplating was used to coat precious metals such as electrical connectors made of gold to improve corrosion resistance. However, based on this widely used manufacturing technology, electroplating experts and medical device designers have recently collaborated to develop a new application. From traditional to innovative design, the electroplating process has brought benefits to the medical device industry in many ways.


The electroplating process can coat metal or plastic with metal film. This process requires immersing the parts to be coated in a series of chemical solutions. Generally, this process includes one or more cleaning steps, an activation step, and an electroplating step.


As a additive manufacturing process, electroplating builds up a 0.000003 inch thin layer at a slow rate. As a related process, electroforming is based on a disposable or reusable shaft. Therefore, electroplating can be used to assemble entire parts, and usually more than one can be assembled at a time.



How electroplating technology optimizes medical equipment


Electroplating can be used to improve the functions of all aspects of medical devices. For example, electroplated metal can be used to conduct heat and electricity, provide good wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and form a strong weld. Copper and silver are the two metals with the best thermal conductivity. Therefore, they can be added to medical ablation devices to conduct heat and eliminate tissue carbonization and adhesion between tissues and devices.


Because metal is a good conductor of electricity, electroplating has traditionally been used to make parts used in electronic devices. Silver, copper, and gold are the most conductive metals. However, because gold is expensive, it is rarely used in medical equipment. On the other hand, silver of various thicknesses is relatively cheap, and in many cases, silver can reduce parasitic power consumption by 90% and improve the battery life of portable devices. Moreover, due to the high conductivity, the surface of the medical device can be made of silver and copper in whole or in part. In addition, during the electroplating process, the geometry of the electrodeposit can be shaped to meet the optimal size, which helps reduce the volume of the entire device.


silver plating

Because silver and copper have antibacterial properties, these metal films can be attached to the surface of medical equipment to prevent infection. In addition, the film will not peel off, just like a polymer coating. In addition, silver and gold are also biocompatible materials. Since gold is an inert metal, it does not chemically react with the body to form harmful compounds, making it suitable for metal coatings for implantable devices.


Medical equipment made of high-density metal such as gold has the function of resisting radiation, and this part can be identified by X-rays. Unlike traditional mechanical marking tapes, electroplated anti-ray markings can maintain very complex geometric shapes. In addition, the anti-radiation marks made by electroplating have stricter tolerances, which are smaller than the tolerances of mechanical processing, and at the same time eliminate the risk of slippage of the marks.


Any part of a catheter or catheter-like device can be electroplated, so that electroplating technology can make a metal coating that is resistant to radiation. This coating is attached to the braided catheter from the atomic level.


Plating can also be used to coat the surface of the braided bundle of catheters to mechanically lock the intersection of the bundle and bundle together. This process strengthens the torque transmission from the proximal end to the distal end of the catheter, retains the flexibility of the catheter, and improves the accuracy of installation. This method also raises the threshold of equipment failure due to torque, improves the twistability, pushability and anti-knotting ability of the catheter, and allows doctors to better control the radial force. At the same time, this process reduces the elongation of the catheter and prevents the braid from spreading out from the front end.


How patients benefit from electroplating technology


In order to shorten the length of hospital stay and control medical costs, minimally invasive surgery and corresponding small surgical instruments are required. Because minimally invasive surgery causes less trauma, patients also benefit from it.


As a superimposed manufacturing process, electroplating can be used to manufacture tools and instruments used in minimally invasive surgery. For example, electroplated catheters can be used for precise and rapid positioning of devices such as vascular stents or heart valves. Therefore, the electroplating process, as a valuable tool in design, can provide many solutions to solve the challenges faced by medical equipment designers in the current difficult medical environment.


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