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voestalpine AG
Stainless steel to surgical instrument

Stainless steel to surgical instrument

From shiny tool steels that take a high polish to matt-black operating room instruments: we offer an extensive range of steels for medical products. There is more voestalpine in the world of modern medicine than some might think.

Raw stainless steel and surgical precision instruments made of voestalpine stainless steel
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Medical technology

Medical technology saves lives, improves quality of life, and provides people with information about their state of health. More than 500,000 medical technologies are currently in use, giving rise to an incredible variety of related instruments and devices. But however diverse they may be, they must all meet high standards of reliability during use, cleaning, and disinfection. This makes steel the material of choice for many applications. So-called surgical steel is generally martensitic, meaning it has a structure that lends it particular hardness and strength. It is a material that medical personnel can always depend on.

Surfaces and intrinsic values

Hygiene is the overriding priority for medical instruments. When cleaned for reuse, they must withstand high temperatures and aggressive substances. Resistant to corrosion, heat and acids, voestalpine surgical steels satisfy all applicable medical standards.

Materials for health made by voestalpine BÖHLER Edelstahl GmbH

The authorities do not certify the raw materials, they certify the end products. We know that the medical industry places exceptionally high demands on the properties of our materials when it comes to their processing and use. That’s why we focus all our expertise on meeting our customers’ specifications for prematerials which are precisely tailored to their final use. They offer exactly what the customer demands, and meet levels of precision which go above and beyond the standard. Completely controlling each step in the manufacturing process, as well as internal quality checks, allows us to manufacture and supply extremely reliable and reproducible products.

Gernot R.
Head of Business Unit

Chromium steels from voestalpine BÖHLER Edelstahl GmbH are distinguished by properties such as outstanding surface strength.

This is important for hygiene because even the tiniest of scratches on the surface could cause the instrument to fail during use. Not to mention that this provides a place for bacteria to accumulate and potentially be transferred to a patient.

David F.
Product Manager

In addition to steel, we are seeing increasing demand for cobalt- and nickel-based materials for special applications, emphasizes David F.

Raw stainless steel and surgical precision instruments made of voestalpine stainless steel
From stainless steel to an instrument.

Coatings for surgical precision

A particular challenge for manufacturers lies in creating the surfaces of surgical instruments. In addition to high-gloss surfaces, silver-coated ophthalmic instruments, and gold-plated parts with carbide inserts, there are even black instruments, such as those produced by voestalpine eifeler Coating GmbH.

We have applied our coating expertise to create a special surface for surgical instruments. To eliminate glare from shiny equipment, we apply a deep black, non-reflective coating. The wear and scratch-resistant coating is less than 2.5 micrometers thick and is applied using a special vapor deposition process.

Albert J.
Product Manager

As with all coatings from voestalpine eifeler Coating that are intended for medical applications, biocompatibility is naturally guaranteed. The advantages of these paper-thin coatings are also exploited in tooth implants and in the world’s smallest heart pump.

Blades for diagnosis

Treatment cannot take place until a diagnosis has been made. When it comes to investigating tissues, slices between 0.1 and 100 µm in thickness are needed for examination under a microscope. Medical laboratories use cutting tools called microtomes to prepare the thinnest specimens. These require very special blades manufactured by voestalpine Precision Strip AB in Munkfors, Sweden.

voestalpine Precision Strip for the finest cuts

To create the special blades that microtomes require, we work with 3 mm strip steel from voestalpine sister company BUDERUS Edelstahl GmbH. This material is particularly well suited to cutting applications and offers an optimal balance between edge sharpness, corrosion resistance, and wear resistance. We cold roll the steel strip to about 250 qm, the thickness of the microtome blades, and supply this material to medical technology manufacturers around the world.

Ian J.
Managing Director voestalpine Precision Strip AB

In addition to this very special product, hundreds of tons of cold-rolled steel strip leave the Swedish plant every year as a prematerial for scalpel blades and oscillating bone saws.

Additional products for medical technologies

  • We have expanded our portfolio of materials for medical products through the acquisition of Metaltec AG in Pieterlen, in the Canton of Bern. The new Swiss voestalpine subsidiary supplies drawn and polished stainless steel (“bright steel”) used in manufacturing implants and instruments.
  • And last but not least, many adhesive plasters—probably the most commonly used medical product of all—are manufactured using one of our products: stamping lines from voestalpine Precision Strip GmbH keep the world well supplied with plasters.
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Die voestalpine ist ein weltweit führender Stahl- und Technologiekonzern mit kombinierter Werkstoff- und Verarbeitungskompetenz. Die global tätige Unternehmensgruppe verfügt über rund 500 Konzerngesellschaften und -standorte in mehr als 50 Ländern auf allen fünf Kontinenten. Sie notiert seit 1995 an der Wiener Börse. Mit ihren Premium-Produkt- und Systemlösungen zählt sie zu den führenden Partnern der Automobil- und Hausgeräteindustrie sowie der Luftfahrt- und Öl- & Gasindustrie und ist darüber hinaus Weltmarktführer bei Bahninfrastruktursystemen, bei Werkzeugstahl und Spezialprofilen. Die voestalpine bekennt sich zu den globalen Klimazielen und verfolgt mit greentec steel einen klaren Plan zur Dekarbonisierung der Stahlproduktion.