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A business segment that undergoes constant changes
A business segment that undergoes constant changes
A business segment that undergoes constant changes

A business segment that undergoes constant changes

Published on MTD CNC by Tornos Technologies UK Ltd on 04 June 2019

In a society with a perpetual imbalance between growth, negative growth, urbanisation and inexorable ageing, medical technology companies have an important role to play. Tornos is no exception to this rule. As a pioneer in this field, the Swiss Company has never ceased to improve, whether in terms of precision or quality. These are two essential factors if you want to go further and further in the field of micro-precision.

In a society with a perpetual imbalance between growth, negative growth, urbanisation and inexorable ageing, medical technology companies have an important role to play. Tornos is no exception to this rule. As a pioneer in this field, the Swiss Company has never ceased to improve, whether in terms of precision or quality. These are two essential factors if you want to go further and further in the field of micro-precision.

While the global population is growing and ageing, the gradual urbanisation of our civilisation creates new health risks. The United Nations expects that the ageing population will involve a significant social change for which Tornos has been prepared for many years, especially in the medical and dental sectors. The machine tool manufacturer has such expertise in the field that it knows it can anticipate the needs of this booming market by providing innovative customised high-performance solutions.

Growth and ageing of the population
The global population is forecast to grow 16% by 2030. In the same period, the global population will be ageing. The number of people aged 60 and older is increasing faster than that of younger age groups and it is expected to double by 2050 and even triple or more by 2100. This demographic trend of ageing opens up new prospects with regards medical and dental technology since the people aged 65 and older have more demand for appropriate care. Two thirds of the patients needing an artificial hip are currently over 65 years old. Medical devices are used to prevent, diagnose or treat diseases and complaints or to detect, evaluate, restore, correct or modify the structure or functions of human bodies in order to restore health.

Precision medicine – targeted and customised
Today, the convergence of technologies, innovation and consumerism of health care paves the way for precision medicine, also called personalised medicine. The relevant information is used to define individual disease patterns based on which specific treatment is best for each individual.

Few other industries are so strictly regulated, or place such exacting demands with regards to quality, safety and transparency. For more than 30 years, Tornos has been closely collaborating with manufacturers of medical devices from all over the world to assist them in providing impeccable products that improve the quality of life for patients.

In this way, Tornos enables its partners to produce anything connected with spinal instrumentation. This ranges from poly-axial and mono-axial screws including screw heads to lock nuts, not forgetting intervertebral cages that are used to treat certain dorsal and cervical diseases and also for degenerative disk diseases.

With regards maxillofacial surgery, Tornos follows the ongoing trend towards miniaturisation that requires ultra-precise screws with extremely sharp threads and heads being able to withstand high forces as well as a flawless connection to the osteosynthesis plate.

Orthopedics and sports medicine in mind
In the treatment of bones, joints and soft tissue, both orthopedic and trauma surgery often use bone screws and other fixation devices such as plates. Tornos has expertise in the production of cannulated screws, canellous and cortical bone screws as well as locking screws made of stainless steel or titanium.

Moreover, Tornos is an expert in cannulation, a process used for machining a central hollow shank. Hip screws are also the perfect proof of Tornos' knowledge in the field of orthopedics and it illustrates the high machining performance the company offers, especially in terms of threading.

Perfect results for the most complex parts
Among the health-related business sectors, the dental field is experiencing an extraordinary boom. This is due to the fact that dental medicine means much more than getting back a beautiful smile. In fact, it can ensure various essential functions required to guarantee a high quality of life such as biting and chewing food. Dental implants such as bone screws, abutments and locking screws must be bio-compatible and resistant to various compression, traction and shearing forces.

Screws used to anchor dental implants pose the same kind of challenges as screws that are used for other medical purposes. The current kinematic system of the automatic lathes from Tornos offer a B-axis system in order to machine milled contours to the required complexity and precision.

Both in the medical and in the dental fields, a whole array of specifically designed tools are required to assist the physician when it comes to cutting, clamping and blocking, retracting and exposing as well as holding the relevant parts of the body during surgery. Such tools need to be easy to sanitise, economical and in certain cases, compatible with robotic handling. They should therefore be manufactured from suitable materials. For the production of medical and dental devices, bio-compatibility is essential. The latter defines the ability of a material to perform with an appropriate host response in a specific situation.

Traditional material or innovative material
Tornos attaches great importance to the physical properties of the material. Likewise it is the ability to satisfy the requirements of its use and to the appropriate treatment processes such as chemical and biological properties as well as the compliance with valid regulations. The material cost is another factor that must be taken into consideration.

Classical bio-materials such as platinum, magnesium and stainless steel as well as more recent bio-materials, in particular cobalt-chrome and polyether ether ketone (PEEK), are the materials the Tornos solutions are aimed at. The machining of PEEK is certainly subject to various constraints. Under no circumstances should PEEK workpieces that are intended for implantation purposes be exposed to cutting oil during the machining process. This means that dry machining is required. Moreover, all lubricants used must be compatible with PEEK. In this particular case, cooling is ensured by a targeted jet of cold air.

Inclined milling and B-axis
Just like certain components such as vertebral implants, orthopedic bone nails, screws and dental implants require specific solutions, especially when conducting milling operations. Thanks to fully numerical axis control, manufacturers can handle extremely complex medical and dental components with ease and in one set-up.

Furthermore, the high-end Tornos machines are equipped with a tool holder with fixed nozzles that enable the cutting oil to be precisely supplied directly to the cutting edge of the cutting tool. In this way, excellent chip breaking, process security and high productivity are ensured. Based on its expertise in the field of medical technology, Tornos is ready to tackle the challenges the customers are confronted with. When you opt for a Tornos machine, you will definitely be the first to conquer the market because Tornos enables you to master the demanding production part approval process. You will be able to immediately start rapid machine set-ups. This is essential for the burr-free production of batches that are becoming smaller and smaller due to the increasing trend towards customised medical and dental devices.

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