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DMG Mori: Efficient Production of High-Quality Parts for Medical Technology

| Editor: Janina Seit

As a partner to many medical technology manufacturers, machine tool manufacturer DMG Mori contributes to the efficient production of high-quality implants and instruments. Covering the entire spectrum of materials, the company’s technology includes CNC solutions for 6-sided lathe milling and 5-axis simultaneous milling.

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At Deckel Maho Seebach’s Medical Excellence Center, DMG Mori designs optimum manufacturing solutions for medical technology applications by integrating them into customer projects at an early stage.
( Source: DMG Mori )

Continuing growth in the medical technology market has brought commercial consequences. Space to expand production is becoming increasingly scarce, while prices for implants are falling. To meet these challenges, manufacturers are joining forces. The purchase of Biomet by Zimmer and Covidien by Medtronic are just two examples in recent years. The trend is towards greater economic efficiency at all levels, especially in the production of sophisticated products such as knee and hip prostheses and spinal implants.

Fully Automated Processes Increase Efficiency

Machine tool manufacturer DMG Mori has been a partner of medical technology manufacturers for many years - 12 of the industry’s 20 major players are among its customers - and knows the special challenges of discrete manufacturing.

DMG Mori wants to push ahead with digitalisation in medical technology manufacturing to simplify and accelerate documentation and tracking in the manufacturing process.
DMG Mori wants to push ahead with digitalisation in medical technology manufacturing to simplify and accelerate documentation and tracking in the manufacturing process.
( Source: DMG Mori )

“For us, the technological possibilities are not the limiting factor,” says Marcus Krüger, head of DMG Mori’s Medical Excellence Center. “Rather, the stringent requirements in the certification of medical devices determine the manufacturing process.”

As a result, it is now more important than ever for manufacturers to integrate digital solutions into their processes. “Barcode readers and equipment for measuring and marking parts will be integrated options in our CELOS operating system,” Marcus Krüger explains. “That will simplify and speed up the documentation and tracking of parts in the manufacturing process.”

Full automation would allow the production planning system to issue all material specifications, machining instructions and lot sizes automatically, and to receive feedback from the production equipment. This would also reduce the workforce required in production.

Marcus Krüger sees automation as a big trend in many sub-disciplines: “Orthopaedics, for instance, is about loading and unloading one-off parts and small production runs. As with the manufacture of instruments, the focus here is on flexible automation.”

Due to the large total quantities required, machining from bar stock is the preferred production method. “The limited production space usually requires very space-saving integrated automation solutions,” Marcus Krüger notes. DMG Mori’s product range includes pallet and workpiece handling systems as well as robot automation.

Into the Medical Technology Future with Innovative Solutions

DMG Mori draws on its broad product portfolio to design optimal manufacturing solutions for its medical technology customers. With this in mind the company set up the Medical Excellence Center at its Deckel Maho Seebach location in Germany. Here, machine tool experts implement turnkey solutions to enable cost-effective production at both industry giants and smaller companies.

DMG Mori engineers get involved in customer projects at an early stage of development. This allows them to apply their knowledge in the most efficient way to design ever more efficient manufacturing solutions. This was demonstrated last June when the company hosted its first Medical Days. Customers from Germany, Switzerland and Ireland travelled to Seebach to discuss with a range of experts how to increase productivity in medical technology.

According to a study by French consultancy Avicenne, the industry will grow by an average of 4.4 percent in the coming years. Continued price pressure will accompany this trend. “Certification issues will also continue to increase, and that will influence production,” adds Marcus Krüger. The challenge lies in overcoming such hurdles and using innovative manufacturing solutions to ensure that requirements for both high quality and short processing times are met.

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Space-Saving Machine Tools for Every Application

DMG Mori’s powerful and productive CNC machine tools will remain an indispensable basis for cost-effective automation, the company says. Pressure on space means that users prefer equipment with a compact footprint. As a result, best-sellers include the Milltap 700 compact machining centre, Sprint automatic lathes, the DMU 50 and the smaller DMU-eVo models for 5-axis milling, and the second-generation NTX 1000 for 6-sided machining. This portfolio allows DMG Mori to covers the complete range of machining operations in the important orthopaedics sector.

The Lasertec 30 SLM manufactures medical devices through additive powder metallurgy with selective laser melting.
The Lasertec 30 SLM manufactures medical devices through additive powder metallurgy with selective laser melting.
( Source: DMG Mori )

What unites the entire range of components in medical technology is the need for both high quality and short processing times. “That’s why complete machining is a common topic in the industry,” says Marcus Krüger.

Especially complex components such as knee implants made of cobalt-chrome can be produced on a DMU 40 eVo li­near machine using 5-axis simultaneous machining. “Spindle speeds up to 30,000 rpm for the Speedmaster and 60,000 rpm for the HSC 20 linear achieve surfaces that require minimal finishing,” says Marcus Krüger.

The dynamics and positioning accuracy of the company’s linear drives are also ideally suited to the twin requirements of quality and speed. With the aid of the PH 10|100 pallet handling system, for instance, DMG Mori guarantees high productivity even at the lowest production volumes.

6-Sided Turn-And-Mill Machining in One Setup

The second-generation NTX 1000 is DMG Mori’s solution for 6-sided complete machining of items such as components for hip and knee prostheses. In a footprint of just 10 m2 this turning/milling centre does the work of two or three traditional machines. The NTX 1000 draws its productivity from its versatile equipment options: among other things, these allow simultaneous machining using the milling spindle and lower turret. Robust construction facilitates high-precision machining, while the tool magazine, with up to 76 stations, provides high flexibility. Several automation solutions, including one with an integrated 6-axis robot for loading components into the feed system, round off the equipment options.

With a footprint of only 10 m2, the second-generation NTX 1000 from DMG Mori offers high productivity in the 6-sided complete machining of components for hip and knee prostheses.
With a footprint of only 10 m2, the second-generation NTX 1000 from DMG Mori offers high productivity in the 6-sided complete machining of components for hip and knee prostheses.
( Source: DMG Mori )

The machining of titanium and titanium alloys is also very important in medical technology. Here the Milltap 700 offers extreme rigidity, high spindle speeds and an intelligent cooling system. Together, these advantages allow the production of bone plates with the shortest machining times and the best surface finish. With its integrated fire extinguishing system and 2-stage flame detectors, the Milltap 700 can be used to machine pyrophoric magnesium alloys.

The production of bone screws is carried out under similar conditions on the automatic lathes of the Sprint series. With DMG Mori’s SWISSTYPEkit fitted, integrated spindle drives - 10,000 rpm for the main spindle and counter-spindle - plus direct drive on the X1 axis allow the Sprint 20|8 to cut machining times by 35 percent. In addition, the two tool slides for a maximum of 36 tools – including up to ten driven tools – allow effortless production of complex components. Other exclusive DMG Mori technologies, such as 3D quickSET for highest kinematic accuracy and ATC (Application Tuning Cycle) for best surface finish, complete the range of services for medical technology users.

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This article was first published by Schweizer MaschinenMarkt.

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