Orthopedic implants need to be highly accurate to ensure that they can fix medical problems. In addition, they need to be constructed with high-quality materials to ensure that they are long-lasting. To achieve this level of quality and accuracy, orthopedic device makers often use air gages in their manufacturing processes.
There are a variety of air gages used in the manufacturing process of orthopedic devices and their functionality differs depending on the desired outcomes. One type of air gage that is used is the fit-jam air gage that compares diametric differences between two points on the device and compares this with a pre-set master. This is useful in establishing if a part meets set parameters but does not give the actual readings of the diameter. To get actual diametric readings, machinists sometimes prefer to use another type of air gage known as the clearance style air gage. Below are some key reasons why air gages are used in these manufacturing processes:
Air Gages are Precise
Orthopedic devices often use tapers to align and keep the different parts of the device locked into each other. These tapers must be precisely tooled otherwise they will not function very well, or they will have a very short shelf life, forcing the patient to change medical products. Air gaging is particularly well suited for a process like this one because they have a very tight tolerance, which typically is less than ±0.001 in. Air gages are also able to measure surface roughness that is below 50 µin. Ra.
Air Gages are Flexible
Air gages have the additional advantage of being very easy to use. This means that technicians do not need to undergo extensive training to be able to operate these gages. In addition, air gages are durable as they are not affected by the usual wear and tear that comes with contact gages. These gages are also fairly fast, making them ideal for a fast-paced manufacturing process where accuracy is still critical. They are relatively small in size and this allows them to be carried around the workshop floor and be used at multiple locations on the assembly line.
Variety of Uses
Air gages can be used to measure a variety of parameters, making them an ideal tool in a wide range of manufacturing processes. Using an air gage, a technician can measure parameters such as diameter, radius, and many more. Air gages can also be used to determine certain surface features of a part.
Orthopedic devices require precise tooling on all components of the device as a flaw on one part may affect the overall performance of the implant. That’s why tiny spaces, holes, and other unusual features must be measured in a precise manner. Air gages are ideal for this kind of measurements as they can measure all sorts of parameters on unusual shapes and forms. These would be very hard to measure with other types of gages.