Zinc Die Casting in Medical and Hospital Technology
2/3/2020 News

Zinc Die Casting in Medical and Hospital Technology

When it comes to human health, no compromises are allowed. In many cases, zinc die casting - either built into the interior of medical precision instruments or provided with a galvanic surface - ensures that the doctor can concentrate fully on his patient. Examples of applications include defibrillators and blood pressure monitors.

The precision with which medical devices must function permanently is certainly an outstanding characteristic that qualifies a material for medical technology. Whether elements with a technical function, complex filigree components, switches, handles, trims or panels: Zinc alloys can not only be cast close to final dimensions in almost any desired shape. During the casting process, precise surface structures and properties can also be integrated, and the appearance, feel and functionality can be adjusted in a targeted and defined reproducible manner.

Hygiene regulations require that components that are in contact with people and the environment must be able to withstand the regular use of cleaning and disinfecting agents without sacrificing functionality and appearance. The wide variety of surfaces that can be used on zinc die cast means that the right solution can be found even for very demanding applications. The spectrum here ranges from conversion coatings to organic and galvanic coatings. Exceptionally smooth surfaces can be achieved by gloss grinding or chemical polishing prior to surface finishing. The high flowability of zinc alloys makes it possible to provide certain areas or complete castings with defined surface textures already in the as-cast state. In addition, inscriptions or logos can be directly cast in.

In the case of medical devices that are held in the doctor's hand and operated manually - examples are the dental camera that is moved by the doctor in the patient's oral cavity, or an optical device that is used for measurements in the immediate vicinity of the human eye - weight, balance and haptics are particularly important. Due to the high density and extremely thin-walled casting of zinc die cast alloys, the designer can specifically influence the user's perception of weight, balance, valence and inertia. For example, the cold haptics typical of metals is a factor that is appreciated by many users of zinc die casting. If required, however, zinc die cast parts can also be provided with "warm feel" coatings or plastic coatings.

When sensitive electronic devices are operated, protection against radiation is also an important feature. As with X-rays, this can be a matter of protecting people. In many cases, however, it is also important to prevent the functionality of a sensitive device from being affected by the electrical or electromagnetic radiation of other devices. For these sensitive areas, zinc is a material whose shielding properties provide a desired additional benefit.

Looking into the future, it can be assumed that the use of zinc die casting in the medical field will increase in the coming years. Especially in the western world, people are getting older and older. In Germany, the proportion of people over 65 will account for 28 % of the total population in 2030. That is four million people more than today. This development will bring with it increased mobile monitoring of the state of health and the use of mobile measuring and treatment devices. Blood pressure monitors and breathing aids are already widely used today. Many more devices are conceivable in the future. Whenever these are to function precisely and last a long time, zinc die casting is the material of choice.