Market ‘scan’ leads to Mitutoyo

Newcastle-based ExplantLab is an independent research organisation that aims to improve the performance of medical implants such as hip and knee replacements. The company combines extensive surgical, bioengineering and medical knowledge to understand the performance of medical implants following their removal from a patient’s body (explants).

When ExplantLab receives an explant, the company’s team employs a range of advanced technologies to reverse engineer them and accurately determine their ‘as-new’ shape. For several years ExplantLab has used a Mitutoyo Legex 322 CMM for this purpose, the success of which – alongside and an ever-increasing volume of explants – recently prompted the purchase of a second Mitutoyo CMM.

ExplantLab director David Langton says: “In consultation with Mitutoyo’s experts we decided that a Strato Apex 574 CNC CMM with an XYZ capacity of 500 x 700 x 400 mm was the ideal solution to our accuracy and scanning speed requirements.”

As ExplantLab’s recently installed Strato Apex 574 CNC CMM has a large component support, the company’s employees are now able to load multiple explants on to the machine and perform rapid, fully automated reverse-engineering routines.

A typical use for the Strato Apex 574 CMM is the scanning of explant bearing surfaces to establish multiple data points for in-depth analysis. Automated programs allow the Mitutoyo CMM to distinguish between the unworn parts of bearing surfaces and determine their precise as-new geometries. From the unworn areas, it is possible to reverse-engineer the original component geometries. By comparing the actual surface (the post revision geometry) of a component with the original (as manufactured) surface, the magnitude of wear can be calculated and accurately mapped. The machine generates comprehensive reports relating to the precise status of each explant.

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