Recent advancements in extrusion have allowed for aluminum microtubing products to be used in medicine and surgical applications. Specifically, microextrusions have allowed for OEM’s to request microtubing with dimensions previously thought impossible.
With continued advancements in several industries, aluminum microtubing has become increasingly more complex and smaller in size. New and advanced processes have placed an urgency on manufacturers to produce smaller and smaller microtubing with safer and more durable materials.
OEMs are primarily focused on miniaturizing their devices and providing new features, but reducing cost is also a large concern. Before, these OEMs relied on traditional injecting molding to complete these projects. However, with the increasing popularity of microextrusions, OEMs now have much more flexibility in cost and design.
The use of aluminum microtubing is useful in this regard. Aluminum can provide three times as much volume per pound as other metal products – so when weight is a factor, it is an obvious choice.
Aluminum’s natural corrosion resistance makes it suitable to many types of environments and its ability to transmit heat rapidly make it ideal for heat transfer processes. On top of this all, aluminum tubing is readily bent, formed, and welded.
Per Medical Design Briefs:
“From a challenge standpoint, material is a key factor… running products on a micro level requires materials to be processed at extremely low output levels, thus creating the potential for high shear and material degradation.
Unlike traditional extrusion, which processes a large amount of material quickly, microextrusion processes a small amount of material slowly to get the desired physical and performance attributes.
In addition to the benefits provided by the reduction in size, another plus is to have the ability to build in advanced steerable capabilities, enhanced with… features to aid in complex procedures. This type of structure can be produced in multilayer size, with enhanced performance in many areas. Depending on the application and device, you can modify configurations to aid the designers even further.”
TABER’S MICROEXTRUSION PROCESS
Taber’s aluminum ultra-precise extrusions are produced through a proprietary technique that delivers features, tolerances, and surface finishes previously considered to be impossible. This unique extrusion process continues to excite design engineers, offering an additional design alternative for the production of precision aluminum components. Industries most commonly using microextrusions include computer, electronics, aerospace, medical, industrial, and military.
About Taber Extrusions:
Founded in 1973, Taber Extrusions originally pioneered a process for extruding rectangular billet which enables the company to extrude solid profiles up to 31 inches wide or hollows up to 29 inches. Taber expanded with the purchase of an extrusion facility in Gulfport, MS., in 1995 which houses a new state of the art cast house and two additional presses, micro-extrusion capabilities, and the fabrication area has been expanded multiple times.
Taber continues to extrude billet in a wide range of alloys and sizes, and has diversified its markets beyond military since its inception to include aerospace, automotive, marine, infrastructure, and sporting goods, among many others. For these markets, the company supplies cast and extruded products in a variety of soft and hard alloys.
Today, Taber Extrusions has completed the addition of in-house Friction Stir Welding capabilities, and carries on their offering of extruded aluminum components, value-added machining services and raw material supply to the North American market – making them a vertically integrated supplier of FSW panels and assemblies never before seen in North America.
A SPECIAL NOTE ON VIRUSES AND BACTERIA IN RESPECT TO ALUMINUM SURFACES:
At this time of extreme health concern, specifiers must carefully consider how material choices may impact the spread of viruses, bacteria, and infectious diseases in healthcare facilities and other public spaces.
While much about the coronavirus is still under investigation, research has demonstrated significant differences in the longevity of viruses on various surfaces, and there are a variety of treatments that appear to further reduce the growth and survival of viruses and bacteria, enhancing the surface’s ability to destroy pathogens.
A major research study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection tested human coronavirus strains for longevity on various material surfaces and found that the virus lasted only two to eight hours on aluminum, but days on many other materials.
We encourage you to access the full white paper on this topic which can be found at AEC.org
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