Top 5 Aluminum Extrusion Applications In The Healthcare Industry

surgery tools
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Aluminum extrusions are a fabrication method used to transform aluminum alloys into items with a definite cross-sectioned profile for a broad range of applications. The process of extrusion makes the best out of aluminum’s unique mixture of physical properties

Its elasticity is allowing it to be quickly processed and molded. Besides, aluminum has one-third of the denseness and hardness of steel; therefore, the final products always come with fantastic solidness and stability. Their forte especially comes out when aluminum is alloyed with another metal.  

Aluminum extrusions are widely used in nearly all industries nowadays, and healthcare makes no exception. Currently, medical equipment designers and manufacturers need light but strong materials, inexpensive materials, ones that can have all sorts of finishing and are environmentally sustainable. Aluminum checks all the boxes, so it comes as no surprise that it’s one of the leading materials utilized for the production of various medical equipment. 

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Aluminum’s relatively modest price plays a huge role in why it is so prevalent among industry professionals. Lowering the medical equipment expenses creates savings for both patients and medical providers, so it’s a sphere of the industry that we expect to develop even further in the upcoming years. 

Without further ado, here are the top five applications of aluminum extrusions in the healthcare industry.

Connectors For Radiation Oncology Equipment

When the failing steel connections threatened to block the sophisticated radiation oncology system’s reliability, equipment companies worldwide turned to aluminum extrusions immediately to find the perfect solution. The new aluminum connectors are made with increased resistance levels and improved design.

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The designers noticed that they would surely improve the piece’s overall strength and endurance with small variations from the initial design. The new connector parts, which were fabricated using aluminum extrusion, snapped together more efficiently and cut the producers’ work by 30-60 minutes for each machined piece.

Consequently, the use of aluminum extrusions also cut manufacturing expenses by almost 90%, and overall the machining process took only a quarter of the time compared to the previous one. Additionally, because of the connectors’ clip-on geometric shape, manufacturers also eliminated the tooling system used to produce the connectors from steel in the first place. They replaced it with already extruded ready-to-assemble aluminum pieces. 

Patient Repositioners

Aluminum extrusions play a significant role in a lot of modern healthcare technologies. Patient repositioners are one of the finest examples showing an innovative way of the utilization of these extrusions. 

The patient repositioners allow a single caregiver to easily reposition a patient in the bed, using only one button push and ten seconds. The repositioners use a specially made sheet that rolls into the aluminum case drawing the patient back up towards the top. The component is made of several singular aluminum extrusions that contain two caries where:

  • The first one cases the roller that is repositioning the sheets;
  • The second one cases the motor, grip, circuit board, and power supply.

Consequently, the framework created by aluminum extrusion handles the 600 in/lbs of torsion and is yet small enough to fit under the mattress perfectly. This is why extruded aluminum is the first and best choice of the patient repositioner designers, including its recyclability feature, force-to-weight ratio, and low material cost. 

Production Of Various Medical Instruments

In sectors such as healthcare, technology advancements play a significant role. Therefore, the metal industry development also contributed to this sector by ensuring safety and hygiene. Nowadays, aluminum is the best example of those metals widely used for the orthopedic, endoscopic, spine, surgical, or medical instruments like containers, trays, and other devices.

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Aluminum is more preferable to stainless steel or its plastic counterparts in the healthcare industry. The reason behind this is its ability to resist corrosive environments and its good thermal conductivity, ensuring quick drying and minimal spread of bacteria.

Another reason for using aluminum for medical instruments is its ability to control the expenses without sacrificing the instrument’s quality, and its biocompatible characteristics also play a significant factor.

Healthcare Structures

Another great application of aluminum is its use for healthcare structures. This means that aluminum extrusions are highly utilized in the field of construction when building up field hospitals, first aid tents, and drive-thru testing facilities. These structures need to be provided with rapid deployment and to be firm once fully set up.

So, aluminum successfully enters the scene and makes that all possible. Extruded aluminum profiles are ideal for making portable constructions. This is because of its properties that provide corrosion resistance, water resilience, durability, strength, and the material’s low weight. 

The essential characteristic of aluminum here is, without a doubt, the lightweight of the machined pieces of the designed structure because they can be fastly and easily fixed up together. This results in establishing excellent and highly solid field hospitals and other similar facilities.

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Walking Frames And Mobile Hoists

Finally, the prevalent use of aluminum extrusions in healthcare applications can be seen in the walking frames and the aluminum mobile hoists. 

These frames for walking can be made with wheels or without. Since people are using them for assistance when walking, they must be robust and easy to lift. For this reason, they are machined from highly flexible extruded aluminum. Their height is usually adjustable, and they can be painted or polished, and there is an option for folding to be easily stored or transported.

Photo from Healthcare Training Leader

On the other hand, aluminum hoists are adaptable, maneuverable, and provide the needed amount of solidity and lightweight. The saved weight compared to steel is of enormous benefit when hoisting people around without loss of strength. And another big plus is these walking frames made out of aluminum can easily be folded and stored away in a matter of seconds.

Final Words

Today, aluminum extrusions are used for a wide range of healthcare applications. These various applications are possible as a result of the beneficial attributes of aluminum as a material. 

Aluminum comes with high proportions of conductivity, elasticity, and cost-efficiency. In the end, let’s not forget its non-magnetic properties and ability to be recycled without losing integrity. All of these characteristics make aluminum, once again, the best choice for the healthcare industry.

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