Grinding out savings for medical applications

A hip joint component processed by Tyrolit abrasives
A hip joint component processed by Tyrolit abrasives

Grinding and polishing tools for the manufacture of orthopaedic products, hypodermic needles, surgical instruments and dentistry products need to meet stringent requirements but must above all ensure maximum precision.

Moreover, the continuous increase in life expectancy of the population as well as a greater level of obesity, which has doubled over the last 20 years, has resulted in a rise in demand for medical technology products by an average annual growth rate of 6.4%.

Throughout the UK and Ireland, abrasives specialist Tyrolit is successfully assisting clients within the medical industry to not only achieve their business goals but to do so in a manner that effectively reduces costs as well as cycle times, helping businesses to achieve ever-increasing demands on output and cost reduction.

For Tyrolit’s customers within the orthopaedic sector, the supply of the right product in order to manufacture parts such as hip ball and knee joints is crucial. Tyrolit has long been a key supplier of bonded abrasives and now following the recent acquisition of another abrasives specialist, Bibielle, the company is now able to offer a complete range of non-woven surface conditioning products. Bibielle is well known for its high-quality, three-dimensional abrasive materials for surface conditioning wheels and belts, unitised and convolute wheels, as well as rough cleaning wheels.

A resin and ceramic bonded honing sleeve being used to grind a steel ball for a hip joint
A resin and ceramic bonded honing sleeve being used to grind a steel ball for a hip joint

Tyrolit says it is able to demonstrate to customers using past evidence and information, why its products, such as knee grinding wheels can reduce the cost over the product’s lifetime, in turn providing a significant cost saving.

Working with one Ireland-based leading medical technology client for over 10 years has demonstrated the strength behind Tyrolit’s grinding and abrasive products through longstanding relationships. Providing a range of successful solutions has helped the client not only achieve its business objectives but also cost reductions.

Cathal Finch, Tyrolit area sales manager for Ireland explains: “We recently provided solutions for knee grinding where we gave a total benefit of wheel changes, improving from every three to four weeks to every three months. This resulted in a massive cost saving for them as well as helping to improve part quality. In addition to knee grinding on machines using Vit-CBN, we have also provided electroplated wheels, cut-off disks and normal belts in the foundry, bristle brushes in the 3D printing facility, polishing with surface conditioning material (SCM) wheels, SCM belts and abrasive belts.”

Tyrolit wheels being used to grind knee joint implants
Tyrolit wheels being used to grind knee joint implants

Continuing its successful cost saving initiatives for the medical sector, Tyrolit currently supplies a multitude of product solutions into different medical clients across the UK and Ireland. These range from hip grinding wheels, where new honing sleeves are used, to plated single wheels for knee grinding. As well as belts, polishing mops, convolute wheels and cup grinding tools.

Working on a new project for a UK-based client, Tyrolit has begun helping to improve its hip grinding process; grinding internal cups through the provision of pinnacle cups and supplying honing sleeves to enable this process.

Through building positive relationships and by supporting both end users and integrators, the abrasives company says it is able to provide the best solutions for its customers with a full range of abrasive, polishing and grinding products, combined with dedicated engineering support for the medical industry.  

Tyrolit considers its substantial engineering application support an invaluable extension to its service. This spans making improvements to grinding tool specifications to looking at total process costs and from optimisation of existing grinding operations to complete new part introduction including defining toolpaths, cut strategies, dresser design, as well as programming of CNC machines and first part pass off.

Stainless steel knee joints and other orthopaedic products are machined with Tyrolit grinding wheels
Stainless steel knee joints and other orthopaedic products are machined with Tyrolit grinding wheels

One example can be found in recent developments with Tyrolit’s vitrified CBN tools for the medical industry combined with additions to its application engineering team, which enabled a doubling of parts per wheel and a reduction in cycle time of 14% giving a total saving to the customer in excess of £400,000.

Tyrolit is a leading manufacturer of grinding and dressing tools, as well as being a system provider for the construction industry.

Since 1919, its innovative tools have been making an important contribution to technological development in numerous industries. The company offers tailored grinding solutions for a varied range of applications and a comprehensive assortment of standard tools for customers all over the world.

The family-owned company based in Schwaz, Austria, combines the dynamic strengths of the Swarovski Group with over a hundred years of commercial and technological experience.




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