Smith+Nephew Utilizes Rösler Equipment for Precise Surface Finishing

At the moment the new Smith+Nephew plant is operating two manufacturing cells, each containing three drag finishers. To further improve process stability the fully automatic Z1000 centrifuges are equipped with the digital process water management system “Advanced” from Rösler Smart Solutions.

In their quest to enhance the quality of life for patients and extend their life expectancy, Smith+Nephew, a prominent global medical technology company, has established a state-of-the-art plant in Penang, Malaysia. Focused on the “orthopaedic reconstruction” division, the plant primarily manufactures endoprosthetic knee and hip implants. Smith+Nephew has employed advanced manufacturing cells equipped with Rösler’s cutting-edge technology to ensure optimal surface finishes on these orthopaedic implants.

Achieving precise and defined surface finishes on orthopaedic implants is crucial for their proper functioning and longevity within the human body. Smith+Nephew has implemented two manufacturing cells in the new Malaysian plant, each housing three R 6/1000 SF drag finishers from Rösler. These specialized mass-finishing systems were developed explicitly for targeted surface finishing of delicate workpieces with complex shapes. Notably, the drag finishers ensure that the femur components do not come into contact with each other during the surface grinding and polishing processes, guaranteeing consistent and repeatable results.

The surface finishing operation’s stability is further ensured by employing two fully automatic Z1000 centrifuges equipped with Rösler’s “Advanced” digital process water management system. This innovative system efficiently cleans and recycles process water, contributing to a reliable and sustainable manufacturing process. Additionally, continuous monitoring and classification of the grinding and pre-polishing media are vital in maintaining the finishing operation’s stability and quality.

The drag finishers were commissioned at the Rösler plant in Untermerzbach, Germany. The commissioning was handled by Jürgen Preiser, Senior Manufacturing Engineer at Smith+Nephew and Johannes Schorr and Sebastian Schuberth from the Rösler team (left to right).

Jürgen Preiser, the senior manufacturing engineer at Smith+Nephew, emphasizes the importance of achieving optimal surface finishes on orthopaedic implants. The inner surface areas of femur components require precise roughness to promote integration into the bone, while the outer surface areas necessitate a smooth, polished finish to prevent premature wear. The Rösler drag finishers effectively cater to these requirements, allowing Smith+Nephew to meet their stringent finishing specifications.

Moreover, Smith+Nephew’s redesigned workpiece clamping system has resulted in a 50% increase in throughput. The drag finishers, comprising processing bowls with a diameter of 1,000 mm and carousels with six rotary spindles, feature specially designed fixtures for clamping the femur components. The institutions enable the finishing of precisely defined surface areas, and optimising the clamping system allows for processing a higher number of members in a single batch, significantly boosting productivity.

The media level and media operating mix are meticulously monitored and controlled to maintain consistent finishing quality. Additionally, the digital process water management system from Rösler Smart Solutions ensures the efficient cleaning and recycling of process water, reducing consumption and enhancing process stability. Furthermore, the system’s interactive software enables the monitoring and evaluation of critical parameters, facilitating quality control and training.

The validation phase of the first two manufacturing cells is currently underway, with full-scale production slated to begin in spring 2023. In addition, Smith+Nephew plans to expand the plant by adding two more manufacturing cells for the same products and finishing processes, further enhancing their ability to deliver high-quality orthopaedic implants.

With their commitment to exceptional medical solutions, Smith+Nephew’s partnership with Rösler and the utilization of their advanced equipment mark a significant stride toward achieving precise and targeted surface finishes for orthopaedic implants, ultimately improving patient outcomes and quality of life.


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