Stainless steel is an excellent material for medical device manufacturing, but there can be trade-offs. For some product applications, the use of austenitic stainless steel is limited because of its low hardness, low wear resistance, and the risk of galling.
Hardening the surface of the stainless steel provides the best of both worlds. To meet these requirements, Tegra Medical offers a hardening process to improve the wear resistance of austenitic stainless steel parts without affecting the corrosion resistance.
Before this surface hardening process was available, more expensive, high strength alloys were often specified. These alloys tend to be difficult to find, which lengthens manufacturing lead times. Even now, many device manufacturers still do not offer surface hardening, so you need to pay the higher cost of an alloy or use a laser weld operation of dissimilar metals.
This surface hardening process extends the applications for austenitic stainless steel by creating a hardened surface on the native material without a coating or any chemical additives other than carbon. Post treatment surface hardness for 316L SS have been shown to be equivalent to 70-74 HRc.The benefits of this surface hardening process include:
The surface hardening process has been used with 304, 304L, 316, 316L stainless steels, as well as several other materials.
Surface hardening of austenitic steel holds the potential for enhanced performance and cost savings to makers of arthroscopic instruments, laparoscopic devices, orthopaedic instruments and other products used in minimally invasive procedures.
Contact us to discuss how a surface hardening process can enhance the performance of your medical device while keeping manufacturing costs to a minimum.