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Orchid Blog

Flow Simulation Enhances Medical Device Manufacturing

Posted: Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Orchid’s facility in Lansing, MI has been forging exotic materials used in joint implants since 1994. Most of the products we make are for hip and knee systems such as tibial trays, femoral components, acetabular cups and hip stems. Most of these are forged and machined titanium, cobalt chromium and zirconium.

To ensure that we meet and exceed our service, quality, and delivery requirements for our customers, we are continuously assessing ways to improve our processes.  Most recently, our die designers upgraded their software and equipment for flow simulation.

How Orchid uses Flow Simulation

Orchid uses software called DEFORM™ to couple the die designers’ experience of historical forming practices with an electronic metal flow simulation. The simulation is capable of accurately predicting material flow and thermal behavior. Not only does the analysis show if the die cavity will fill correctly, it also displays where strains occur in the flow, potentially creating defects and resultant nonconforming material.  After the simulation runs, the die designers can adjust the brake and billet geometry to improve material flow and reduce strain before the die is ever cut.

Our Results

Our simulations used to take an average of four days to complete with a resolution that wasn’t meeting our expectations. When we made the upgrades to the software and equipment, the results provided a refined analysis of the data and reduced the simulation time to less than eight hours. This enabled us to run several detailed simulations in a much shorter timeframe with better accuracy. The easy to read graphical data has also benefited our efforts by providing a visual tool to better explain design for manufacturability suggestions to our customers.

Orchid is able to analyze our forging processes on the computer rather than the shop floor using trial and error. These enhancements are instrumental in decreasing time during the development and launch phases of new products, benefiting our cost, quality and delivery initiatives.

Example of improved resolution and new die design

By Jen Biggar, Quality Manager, Orchid Lansing