ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Precision cutting specialist U-Corp. Co. Ltd. sees an increasing demand for machined PEEK for implantable and external medical parts, according to Kensuke Shin, project manager with the firm's technical division in Annaka City, Japan.
U-Corp. uses precision technology to machine various metals as well as plastics, and perceives that the use of metal is becoming less important than that of plastic, especially in the medical field.
The reasons include titanium's high cost and the tendency of an implant to sometimes migrate within the body. A lighter plastic tends to stay in place better.
While U-Corp. lacks ISO 13485 certification and U.S. regulatory approval, it pursues machining needs of others on a contract basis.
“Machine shops working on PEEK in the Chicago area have capacity issues,” said U-Corp. representative Tom Turner, vice president with ITA Inc. of Elk Grove Village, Ill., “so we contact these kinds of shops and find out if they need outside help in dealing with work overflow.”
Computer-numerical-control machining of “plastics means you can go directly from CAD to cut part without creating tools,” Turner noted at the UBM Canon trade show Feb. 11-13 in Anaheim. “Very high quality and small volume components can be prototyped and tested for much less money.”
Both PEEK and polyetherimide are gaining strength in aerospace applications.