How Coatings for Medical Devices Boost Performance

May 18, 2020 @ 2:37 am

The application of a medical device coating to implants, surgical instruments, and other medical equipment and devices help to increase value while differentiating products thanks to specific functional properties. As the medical device industry keeps growing, manufacturers are now contending with several challenges. One of these is being able to differentiate the products they offer in the highly competitive market.

With this fact in mind, a bigger emphasis is being put on the various functional coatings being applied to titanium, stainless steel, and other substrates of certain medical devices, from reamers and bone saws to needle drivers, scalpels, implants, and more.

History of Medical Device Coatings in the Manufacturing Process

When manufacturers first started to coat instruments, the main purpose was to improve the overall aesthetics of the instruments while improving quick identification during surgery. For example, titanium nitride had an easy-to-recognize gold color and, as a result, was the most widely used coating.

However, today, modern manufacturers are looking past the concept of aesthetics and including more innovative coatings. This is being done in an effort to help improve overall wear resistance, reduce the galling between any sliding components, increase lubricity, and to retain the sharp edges that are found on instruments used for cutting.

The newer coatings provide additional benefits, too, such as anti-glare for brightly lit operating rooms, anti-fouling in the presence of tissue or blood, and antimicrobial properties. In some situations, the coatings may even help to turn devices into items that can be reused multiple times.

The Innovative Coatings Used Today

Thanks to the innovation behind the coatings used today, those coatings offer a combination of superior surface hardness, anti-corrosion properties, and a low-friction coefficient. They are also extremely thin, which means they don’t significantly impact the height or weight of the instrument they are applied to.

As anyone can see, the landscape for medical device coatings continues to change and evolve. These changes are bringing about better products and devices for those who work in the medical field. Learning what they do and offer are the best ways to see why the coatings are so important.