Industry News

How Metal Passivation Plays a Role in the Medical Industry

In an industry where cleanliness and sterilization are non-negotiable, it’s essential to have medical implants, tools, and instruments that are as smooth, clean, and rust-resistant as possible. Medical device passivation helps to ensure that stainless steel tools are not only free of impurities but that they will stand the test of time while maintaining a smooth, clean surface.

What is Passivation?

Passivation is a metal finishing process that gets stainless steel as close to rust-proof as possible, making it more resistant to corrosion. Passivating stainless steel removes the iron from the surface of a part, which allows the chromium in stainless steel to react with oxygen and create a protective coating. Because passivation doesn’t remove any existing rust or surface imperfections, it is often used in conjunction with other finishing methods such as bead blasting or tumbling.

Explaining the Passivation Process

The passivation process requires two primary steps: cleaning and finishing. Each part needs to be thoroughly cleaned of any residue or substances to avoid contamination and is then plunged into a passivating bath, which removes iron particles from the metal and creates the protective layer. At RP Abrasives, we offer two types of passivation:

Stainless Steel Passivation – This passivation is done as a preventative measure to decrease the possibility of corrosion on the finished part and boost resistance. It will also provide a clean, uniform aesthetic appearance – a worthy investment when considering the cost of stainless steel materials.

Chemical Passivation – We use a citric acid-based solution for passivating stainless steel, which many of our existing medical industry customers require within their field. Citric acid is not only highly effective, it’s also the most environmentally friendly chemical passivating option.

Advantages of Passivation in the Medical Industry

Medical device passivation is essential in the medical industry because it protects equipment from impurities, pollutants, and burrs. The greatest advantages of passivation in this field include:

  • Cleanliness – By removing burrs and imperfections from the surface of a stainless steel medical instrument, they are smoother and easier to keep clean.
  • Sterilization – Medical instruments need to be completely sterile to avoid contamination among patients. The smooth surface that passivation leaves on medical instruments make them less likely to contain contaminants and bacteria, in addition to being much easier to sterilize.
  • Longevity – The additional layer of protection from passivation increases the durability of a part, so it can be successfully used for longer periods of time. It also protects against corrosion, which can cause medical and surgical instruments to rust.

Contact the Experts at RP Abrasives

Metal finishing, specifically the medical device passivation process, plays a prominent role across industries, particularly in medical and surgical device manufacturing.

At RP Abrasives, our passivated parts are high-quality and certified to ASTM A967 and ASTM B600 standards, as well as RoHS and RoHS2 compliant. If you are interested in our metal finishing services, please request a quote today!