Micro Pressure Sensor Wire Fabrication

As medical devices evolve, external system monitoring devices and sensors will continue to improve and lead to better medical care. External monitoring decreases the need for surgery and increases the number of applications which involve less invasive procedures. Modern Grinding is working on several micro pressure sensor projects with research groups.

The smaller a guidewire is, the less invasive it is and the greater opportunity to get through small openings. We manufacture profiles into extremely small core wire diameters which the micro sensors can be welded to or bonded into such that they won’t move. The guidewire and sensor are then long enough to send signals outside the body. We are capable of doing these types of guidewires and core wires in small prototype runs or mass production.

Our plasma welding, grinding, and coiling services make us a one stop manufacturer for your next micro pressure sensor or micro sensor project. Contact us today to find out what we are capable of!

Wire Prototype Research Kit

We work with multiple colleges, universities and corporate wire research groups using a wide variety of wire types and sizes. Several of these groups are doing wire prototype research in mice and require small wires often in the range of .6mm.  PhD researchers tend to know their trade VERY well, but they might not know wires as well which is where we step in.

Recently, we had a research group reach out, knowing that they needed nitinol wire but little else, since they hadn’t actually performed any tests yet. Did they need threads or smooth k-wires? Deep threads or shallow threads? Did they need a blunt tip, a radius tip, a diamond tip or a trocar tip? We know wire properties very well but we don’t know how they will react when implanted into a subject.

For the customer we ended up creating a customized medical device wire prototype kit with 8 different wire forms.  For us the hardest part of doing a job is the initial set up which includes writing the CNC program, dressing the wheels, changing out the tools, and testing parts until we get it exactly correct. For us to create 8 different wire forms of the same type of wire size, all we need to do is create new CNC programs which is the least time consuming of the set up. Our client recieved:

  1. Smooth no tips. 10 pieces. Short Length
  2. Smooth with a trocar tip. 10 pieces. Short Length
  3. Threaded no tips. 10 pieces – Short Length
  4. Sturdy Thread with a trocar tip.  10 pieces – Short Length
  5. Secondary Thread attempting to go to as deep in the wire as possible, no tip. 10 Pieces – Short Length.
  6. Smooth double trocar tips – 5 Pieces – Long Length
  7. Threaded double trocar tips –  5 Pieces – Long Length
  8. Secondary thread double trocar tips – 5 Pieces – Long Length

After the initial run, we will have the right wire sizes in stock and the correct CNC programs on file which will save us time and save our client money on the next order.

If you are doing research and would like a wire prototyping research kit, contact us today and we will work with you to find out the exact type of wire for you to use in research.


Medical Wire Prototype Manufacturing Demystified

If a consumer wanted to buy a custom manufactured Apple iPhone they would need to call up the original manufacturer and they would expect to pay more than if they bought an iPhone off of the shelf.  Apple makes millions of phones identical and because of this they can charge less for a standard phone than if they needed to custom manufacture one. The same applies to manufacturing wires. Every day we quote out multiple projects for medical wire prototypes and small product runs. We have generic products on our site which end up being much more affordable then the prototype runs and it is difficult to explain this to customers so I wanted to demystify our pricing on projects and lead times.


With each new product comes new engineering challenges. We need to make sure we can get the product scheduled on our machinery in a timely fashion. We need to determine which tooling needs to be set up on the machinery to accurately achieve the desired specifications. Sometimes this planning is easy, other custom wire jobs can be quite challenging.

Raw Materials

When customers request non-common wire sizes and wire materials we need to order these materials from a raw wire materials manufacturer. The raw materials manufacturer will quote us anywhere from one week to six weeks of lead time for the materials. Minimum order sizes are typically between $250 and $500 for a minimum lot order. As an example, if you only want a prototype run of 5 pieces and the minimum wire cost is $250, you are starting at $50 per wire before we have done anything. Modern Grinding works our best to stock common wire sizes to avoid minimum wire order charges and lead times.

Specialized Tips and Threads

When customers request non-common tips or thread sizes, those wire profiles need to be programmed into a cnc program by an engineer which takes labor time and machine time. For special threads, the wheel needs to be dressed for the specific thread. A typical wheel dress takes about 15-30 minutes and takes material off of a $100-$800 dollar wheel. After the parts are made, they need to be measured by the machine operator and engineer to make sure that the specialized tips and threads are being achieved to specification.

Tolerance Specs

The tighter the tolerance, the higher the price of creating the product. Tighter tolerances require more spot checks which requires more labor hours. Tighter specs also lead to more scrapped parts which leads to higher costs. If you are not sure what tolerance specs you would like to achieve, ask your manufacturer what their typical tolerance specs are.


Almost every project we do has a different wire size then the last project. In order to switch projects it requires time to take down one project and set up the next project. Due to the typical precision of our products, this requires multiple tests to make sure everything is set up correctly. We need to re-position the grinding wheel, redress the grinding wheel and set up all of the feeder and exit tubes. Typically we quote out 3 hours worth of set up and take down time per project. Again, in the example of trying to make 5 parts, we spend 3 hours of operator and machine time before we even can make 1 product.

Cycle Time

Cycle time doesn’t come into play too often with small runs, but what it means is the amount of time needed to make one piece. If we are doing a large run of 10,000 wires, we can figure out how to automate the process such as having automated feed in and exits set up. If we are only doing 5 parts, we need to hand feed the product into the machine which takes more time per piece.

I hope this helped demystify our pricing philosophy slightly but don’t let it deter you, Our prototype pricing is competitive in the wire manufacturing market and our quality is second to none. Please give us a chance to quote out your next prototype project and see how passionate we are about wires.

Manufacturing a Guidewire (Mandrels, Tips and Coatings)

Guidewires are constructed of an inner core wire, which is sometimes called a mandrel, and an outer coil. Core wires are typically made out of Stainless Steel or Nitinol but Modern Grinding has worked with an endless amount of materials in guidewire research and lab settings. All else equal, stainless steel guidewires are stiffer than nitinol wires. Super-Elastic Nitinol (NiTi) material can help resist kinking and maintains its shape throughout a procedure. Guidewire diameters are manufactured to achieve an optimum level of flexibility, stiffness, or floppiness depending on vascular navigation needs.

Guidewire Tips

Normally the core wire of a guide wire does not extend all the way to the tip of the guidewire, instead we grind guidewires to a tip and then coils and coatings are used to extend the tip and maximize maneuverability. Modern Grinding works off of specifications to craft the tip of the outer coil of the guide wires into j-curved, angled, and straight tips. “Floppy” guidewire tips are adaptable and not designed to retain a formed shape.

Guidewire Coating

Guidewire outer coils may also be plated with a heavy metal such as gold or platinum. Beyond metal plating on guidewires, most have some form of antifriction coating. TFE coating has been shown to reduce the coefficient of friction for stainless steel wires to 1/2 the uncoated value, and a silicone coating can reduce it to 1/6 the uncoated value. Many newer wires are coated with a hydrophilic polymer similar to silicone. Guidewire coatings and plates that we have used include PTFE, Hydrophoilic, Pebax, TFE, Teflon, Radiopaque, Tungstun, Polyurethane and many others.

This blog post was adapted with content from – http://www.ctsnet.org/portals/endovascular/nutsbolts/article-3.html

Custom Manufactured Surgical Components (Pins, Screws, Needles and Wires)

Companies make customized clothes to fit perfectly, why not the products that go inside of our bodies? At Modern Grinding, some of our pins, screws and needles are made for short term disposable purposes, lasting just a few weeks. Others remain in place for years until a fracture is correctly set. Why not make custom manufactured surgical components that fit snuggly into the patients system?

Imagine a world where surgical products are custom built for the patient on demand. We are getting closer to this possibility every day, and in some cases, doctors are customizing 3d surgical products, as was recently the case at the University of Michigan – http://www.uofmhealth.org/news/archive/201305/baby%E2%80%99s-life-saved-groundbreaking-3d-printed-device

We are excited about the possibilities and we are not sitting on our hands waiting for them to come. If you are a doctor who has ideas to test out with just in time custom manufactured parts for surgery, please contact us and lets make a better tomorrow. Our manufacturing process is built for short lead time pins, screws, needles and wires. We would love to explore the future while helping write it.

Vet Supply and Manufacturers at the American Veterinary Medicine Association Convention

We had a great weekend in Chicago meeting other vet supply and manufacturing companies at the AVMA Convention. Our previous experience has been spent in the medical research industry so we didn’t exactly know what to expect at the convention. We found several other manufacturing companies who are also expanding into animal health.

Here is a brief description of some of our favorites:

http://vetport.com/ – I had a nice discussion and got some great advice on how he uses fixation pins and support rods at his veterinary clinic. They have a cool technology, if you run a vet, you should take a look!

AVMA VMAT – avma.org – Disaster Relief Group. This is a really cool group, I never knew existed. When disasters strike, states call up AVMA VMAT to help animals of the tragedy. They had a dog from FEMA on site.

Super Brush – Super Brush is a contract manufacturer that mainly supports the medical industry. They create swabs for a variety medical procedures.

Diatech – Diatech has long been in the dental supply field for humans but have recently ventured into the animal world. Since veterinarians use the same dental instruments on animals, we thought it was a great fit! We offer a variety of rotary dental instruments

Spectrum Surgical Instruments – manufactures the finest quality German instruments backed by their famous lifetime warranty including free scissor sharpening and needle holder jaw replacement. Spectrum’s complete line of instrument care products includes solutions, sterilization trays, cleaning brushes, and ultrasonic machines

MWI Veterinary Supply – partner to all major pharmaceutical, diet, and equipment manufacturers, bringing you a selection of more than 11,000 products serving the livestock, small animal, and equine veterinarian.

It was a great event, and we look forward to next year!


Attending AVMA Conference – Looking to meet with Veterinary Suppliers

Representatives from Modern Grinding manufacturing will be attending the AVMA conference in Chicago on July 22nd and we are looking to meet with Veterinary suppliers, researchers and distributers.  Feel free to email us at info@moderngrinding.com if you will also be in Chicago and are interested to learn more about our custom orthopedic veterinary product capabilities. We are a veterinary component manufacturer and supply various pins and wires to Veterinary distributers and suppliers. We look forward to networking and meeting veterinary experts!

Medical Device Supply Chain Challenges and Opportunities

At Modern Grinding, we are constantly thinking about ways to better serve medical researchers, medical suppliers, veterinary suppliers and the general medical device supply chain. The biggest improvement we think that we can make is in decreasing lead times. When it comes to ordering raw wire materials we are at the mercy of suppliers for lead times. Unfortunately, in order to cater to our customers unique custom wire diameter needs, we are forced to order wires on demand.

General Supply Chain
The medical supply industry functions much differently than the manufacturing industry. In addition to understanding stringent government regulatory requirements and FDA-mandated current Good Manufacturing Practices(cGMP) designed to ensure products are safe, pure and effective, manufacturers must also bear the burden of understanding the complexities and rigors involved in moving their sensitive products through the supply chain. At Modern Grinding we know that in the medical industry time can mean lives and can also make a difference in whether start-up medical device companies are able to get the supply they need and get off the ground. Here is a great report on manufacturing supply chain metrics – http://supplychaininsights.com/supply-chain-metrics-that-matter-a-focus-on-medical-device-manufacturers/

We are researching news ways to store stock inventory which is ready to manufacture versus ordering wire each time we need it. We are looking for partners who understand the industry, and want to work together on improving lead times, efficiency and quality. 

One way that we can improve inventory lead times is by stocking standardized wire sizes and then grinding them down to the correct diameter upon order. As a grinder, this is an option although some of the surface properties of the wire are lost in the grind process.

Additionally we could partner or move closer to our wire distributers, but we have several different wire providers which would make this difficult. Modern Grinding has years of experience in medical manufacturing but we will also take a very technical and engineering focused approach to automation.

Through advanced supply chain and planning we aim to have the lowest lead times for medical wires while also providing the best communication and updates about where a given project is in the process. We have taken great measures to improve the communication process in terms of fast quotes, proper specifications and quality checking.

If you have ideas about how to improve medical device supply chain, don’t hesitate to reach out. Click here for a medical wire equipment quote.

K-Wire (Kirschner Wire) vs. Steinmann Pin – Usage and Comparison

Many wire terms are used interchangeably, from mandrel to guide wire to k-wire to Steinmann Pin to Intramedullary pin to fixation pin. Most of the time, there are very subtle differences between the names, depending on design, diameter, threads, usage and the context of the speaker. We are here to dispel the myths and help you correctly name an orthopedic pin the next time you call us up.

Typical Steinmann Pin Attributes
Steinmann Pin Diameter: 1.6mm+
Steinmann Pin Material: Stainless Steel
Steinmann Pin Tip: Trocar Tip 15 Degrees
Steinmann Pin Usage: A stainless steel spike used for the internal fixation of fractures of long bones.
Order Steinmann Pins from Modern Grinding

Typical K-Wire Attributes
K-Wire Diameter: .9mm to 1.5mm
K-Wire Material: Stainless Steel or Nitinol
K-Wire Tip: Trocar Tip 15 Degrees
K-Wire Usage: K-wires are typically used for temporary fixation (basically as a guidewire) during some operations. After definitive fixation they are then removed. For instance, the k-wire is placed in the bone, a cannulated screw goes over the K-Wires, is screwed in, and the K-Wire is pulled out.
Order K-Wires from Modern Grinding

Photo by – http://www.flickr.com/photos/23am/

In animal medicine, pins and wires are the most commonly used implants, due to cost and simplicity of surgical process when using them. The only downside is their limited usage when used alone and without additional equipment to treat fractures.(Whenever we talk about veterinary surgery we try to include a picture of a puppy to lighten the mood)



The differentiation between a pin and a wire is typically the diameter. Smaller diameters are referred to as wires and larger diameters are referred to as pins. Although there is no standardized definition of diameter cut off, typically pins are between 1.5 mm (1/16 inch) and 6.5 mm (1/4 inch) in diameter. Kirschner wires (K-wires) are 0.9 to 1.5 mm (0.035, 0.045, 0.062 inches) in diameter. The most common tip for K-Wires and Steinmann Pins is a three-sided trocar tip being better suited to penetrating cortical bone and the later able to be braced against the endosteal surface of the bone’s cortex or applicable to lodging in cancellous bone. Our clients have the options of Trocar, Diamond (two-sided chisel), radius, or blunt tips.

Steinmann Pin and K-WiresBetween the two, the Steinmann Pin was introduced first as a way to stabilize fractures with a traction type device. The Steinmann Pin was driven through the skin and into the bone. It was used an anchor for the patient fracture. Steinmann Pins can also be called Intramedullary Pins or IM Pins.

Kirshner Wires came along after Steinmann Pins, when Martin Kirschner realized that the larger pins caused more bone damage as well as infection. He ended up creating his own device to insert chromed piano wire into willing patients. He also figured out a way to provide more tenstion which better aligns fracture fragments and provide tension to keep it in place.

For Additional Information, please consult – http://www.customkwiremanufacturer.com/history-of-steinmann-pins-and-kirschner-wires/