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MICRO WATERJETS | ARTICLE


<< Figure 3: Socket blank made of chromium-nickel steel. >>


Hygiene, ability to be sterilised and antibacterial effects are the end-all and be-all when using implants, with clean production making an important contribution right from the start. The hip joint sockets made of plastic were produced in a fully automatic process: a robotic arm with a 3-point gripping device grips the raw material and places it back down, so that the implants can be injected directly using the WJIP procedure. Thanks to automation, the entire value-added chain of production also proved to be even more efficient (known as ‘lean management’). But automation is not only an essential aspect in the production of medical engineering products, as Matthias Straubhaar, Managing Director of Waterjet Robotics, explained. The serial use of robotic systems and intelligent control systems ultimately enhances the overall productivity in the micro business.


Just recently, a fine micro implant made of 0.3 mm titanium was processed using the Microwaterjet SK11-200 System. This is particularly remarkable, since waterjet cutting was a relatively crude and dirty procedure just 10 years ago. At that time, the manufacture of medically engineered accessories in the micro business was inconceivable. With the development of micro waterjet cutting, Microwaterjet AG revolutionised the traditional waterjet cutting process.


The development of the procedure proceeded in close cooperation with technical schools and universities. Together with the specialist for waterjet technology, Prof. Dr. Kurt C. Heiniger at the FHNW School of Engineering (University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland), the physics of jet production was researched in the Swiss Competence Center for Waterjet Technology SKWT in Windisch near Zurich. Only a liquid glass column with a smooth surface and a wall of water drops is suitable for the highly precise industrial manufacturing process. The research team of the Institute for Thermo- and Fluid Engineering at the FHNW investigated not only the flow within the collimation pipe, but also the abrasive influx into the mixing chamber and its acceleration in the focusing pipe. The jet changes with the design of the geometry of the water nozzle, by means of which the type of acceleration can be sharply influenced.


36 | commercial micro manufacturing international Vol 7 No.2


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