At a sleepover, Jennifer was playing a game with her friends when one of them exclaimed, “Hey, your back is crooked!” The next day Jennifer showed her parents who took her to the doctor. They discovered a severe curve in her spine which required spinal fusion surgery. The surgery was completed with a titanium rod that remains in her back to this day.
But before that ever happened, the titanium that was used to manufacture the rod went through a complex purification process to ensure that it was okay for it to become a permanent part of the human body. Titanium is an indispensable part of medical technology. It is as sturdy as steel, but considerably lighter. It is also extremely corrosion-resistant, anti-magnetic and anti-allergenic. Titanium improves the quality of life for millions of patients as a basic material for medical implants.
The Nuremberg-based company GfE Metalle und Materialien uses two Memmert vacuum drying ovens to manufacture high purity titanium powder. Titanium in medical technology may not contain any ferromagnetic material whatsoever. Tiny particles of iron, which rub off the grinding tools during the crushing process, are removed from the batches in an acid etching bath. The batches are then dried in the vacuum drying oven. Two Memmert appliances run for 12 to 14 hours per day and evacuate three to four litres of water in each drying process. “This job is a real chore”, laughs Peter Muntau, an employee in the titanium powder production line at GfE. “We cannot afford any production stoppages, which is why the robustness of the vacuum oven is absolutely crucial.”
Memmert vacuum ovens could tell a lot of exciting stories. A manufacturer of pens used them to see how much pressure his product could tolerate. A medical device manufacturer used them to dry every crack and crevice of her tiny implantable parts. A manufacturer of miniature circuit boards used them to remove all the air in their epoxy resins.
When an acute heart insufficiency occurs in a patient, there is usually no donor heart available. In those cases, artificial hearts step into the breach as lifesavers. In the production of artificial hearts, engineers are responsible for the precise finishing, down to the micrometre, of pumps and cannula. This takes place under clean room conditions, since the slightest unevenness or deviation could lead to life-threatening complications for the patient. For many years, Memmert vacuum ovens have been used for the drying process. The gentle drying of the heat-sensitive polyurethane is done in a vacuum at 30 °C over a period of 24 hours. In doing this, the pressure in the interior of the oven is briefly reduced under controlled circumstances so that humidity and possible residue is removed more quickly.
Memmert vacuum ovens can do much more than just drying. They are used for curing, conditioning, degassing, and ageing. Substances sensitive to heat and oxygen are treated gently. Components with complex geometries are dried residue-free. This is accomplished with unsurpassed energy efficiency thanks to a speed-controlled vacuum pump and digital pressure control at turbo speed. The VO oven together with pump module and pump forms an exceptionally energy-saving combination. The vacuum pump switches off automatically when the vacuum is reached and only switches back on when required.
Laboratory ovens are designed to ensure that every point within the device is at the target temperature. Ramp programming of temperature and vacuum cycles in combination with direct heating of the thermo shelves allows unrivaled process times, even when fully loaded. For this reason, Memmert was the first manufacturer worldwide to develop a turbo-drying system with vacuum cycles for its vacuum oven VO.
Gentle low temperature vacuum drying and storage of microorganisms or active pharmaceutical components are particularly applied in the food and pharmaceutical industry. Thanks to this process, unstable substances can be dried at moderate temperatures, but above zero, without too much damage to the cell structure.
In a 2018 survey, Lab Manager readers reported that the top features buyers sought in lab ovens were safety (86%), low maintenance and operating costs (71%), ease of use (69%), and uniform heat distribution (59%). In fields that are heavily regulated, such as medicine, precision in the vacuum is crucial for quality and competitiveness. Memmert ovens achieve the highest level of uniform heat distribution because their shelves have a heating element wrapped in silicone and aluminum. The heating elements are in the walls so there is a more ambient transfer of heat. When it comes to ease of use, the Memmert vacuum oven can be set up and ready to go by any person in your organization
Vacuum ovens carefully process materials without damaging them. Memmert vacuum ovens are second to none when it comes to the products required by the medical industry. Many of the life-saving devices, instruments, and medicines that we enjoy today are a result of the state-of-the art technology that Memmert ovens provide. Call us today to discuss your unique needs.