Machining of synthetic jewels and ceramics for the Medical Industry
Pierhor-Gasser is a Swiss leader in the machining of synthetic jewels such as rubies, sapphires and spinels, as well as industrial ceramics.
Historically, Pierhor-Gasser has been dedicated to the machining of jewels for high-precision watch movements and is today the largest independent supplier in this sector in Switzerland.
With both ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certification, Pierhor-Gasser is now applying this knowledge and expertise to the manufacturing of precision jewel components for use in the MedTech industry. Currently, Pierhor-Gasser produces micro-machined rubies for cardiovascular, neurosurgery and other invasive MedTech implants and devices.
Using their own custom-build machines and unique processes, Pierhor-Gasser can achieve accuracy to within 2μm of hole accuracy. These same processes allow Pierhor-Gasser to obtain surface finishes to within a few nanometers of accuracy. Pierhor-Gasser machined jewel components always deliver the desired quality and performance required for MedTech devices.
Neurosurgical implants and instruments made from synthetic ruby
Since rubies are an electrical insulator, they are the ideal material for invasive devices that generate electrical impulses. Wear resistance and chemical inertness are two other characteristics that make rubies suitable for implantable medical devices.
It is the same qualities these materials have in watch components that make them suitable for use in the MedTech sector.
Advantages of rubies and sapphires
Sapphire and ruby materials have particularly characteristics for the medical sector:
- Electrical Isolator, feedthrough for various Electro-medical implantable devices
- Hardness and mechanical resistance (from 1’200 to 2’000 Vickers)
- Excellent wear resistance, they do not disintegrate or crack over time
- Very low friction coefficient
- Good thermal conductivity
- Chemically inert
- Thermal insulator
Medical components that can benefit the properties of Rubies and Sapphires
The advantages listed above can benefit components used for the following MedTech applications:
- Electrical insulators
- Cardiovascular implants
- Neurosurgical implants
- Bearings for implantable medical devices
- Heart pumps
- Instrument for arteriotomy
- Thrust bearings
This is by no means a complete list of the applications imaginable in the MedTech sphere.
Innovative industrial processes adapted for the medical implants
In the field of hole drilling, the company is currently developing and testing a new production line using the latest laser technologies, 5-axis machining centers, latest generation vision technologies, in combination with artificial intelligence. This new production line will allow the company to achieve an accuracy of less than 5µm of bore depth at the end of 2022 compared to 15µm currently.
Femtosecond laser: to ensure reliable and repeatable production, the company has developed, in collaboration with the Acrotec Group R&D department, a whole new stone manufacturing method. This new system uses a femtolaser boring process which achieves incomparable surface finishing and a near X μm accuracy of the internal hole diameter.