When Intuitive Surgical chose Magnesium Solutions as a supplier for magnesium prototypes on their revolutionary da Vinci robotic surgical system, they did so realizing the many benefits that go along with making that decision. When designing and building a robot to be used in very delicate surgical operations, the advantages of magnesium are numerous.
Magnesium, being the lightest structural metal, reduces the weight of the operating arm and in turn helps reduce inertia allowing very precise movements. Being lightweight along with Magnesium's dampening characteristics provide benefits that are not achievable with other alloys.
Having defined Magnesium as the alloy of choice, now it’s a matter of finding a method to manufacture these very complex details.
The early prototypes were machined from solid, more commonly known as a hog out. In many cases the interior detail could not be achieved without splitting the part and welding it together once the internal features were created. Needless to say, this was not only expensive but very time-consuming.
When Magnesium Solutions became involved in the project, they brought the many benefits associated with Additive Mfg. of Magnesium prototypes, such as:
- In-house pattern creation equipment, thus eliminating any need for expensive tooling or subcontracting to a service bureau.
- The ability to provide internal features in a one-piece casting that eliminated the splitting and welding.
- Greatly reduced delivery dates as compared to other methods of manufacturing. In many cases providing parts in weeks not months.
- Complete metallurgical verification utilizing the latest in spectrometer capability for alloy certification and Bluelight 3-D Scanning for dimensional verification.