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How is surgical steel made

How Is Surgical Steel Made

If you have ever come across an adult lifestyle product that is described as being made from Surgical Steel, words like “medical grade” and “body safe” come to mind. This is because the word surgical is related to hygienic practices within places like hospitals were surgeons use their highly trained skills to help people with medical issues.

The term Surgical Steel was originally created as another name for products which were made with Stainless Steel Alloys so that people could easily understand that they were safe to use on the body, this was so you didn’t have to be a scientist to work out which products were made with high quality materials. This is helpful if you are trying to work out which type of material you personally need so that you can use it safely in your own home. It is also beneficial so you can work out whether you can use toys like chastity devices, penis plugs and cock ring for short term wear or long term wear.

There is an amazing array of over 100 stainless steel alloys which all have individual SAE grades that are categorised by numbers and letters. There are different grades of stainless steel which are considered to be in this category including but not limited to 304, 430, 316 and 316L. These types of stainless steel are mainly used to create temporary medical implants and long lasting surgical equipment.

Stainless Steel which contains 2-3% molybdenum is an ingredient which is used to give metal a higher resistance to corrosives whether they are used for industrial purposes or used on the body. Grades 316 and 316L use molybdenum for this purpose. 316L is made with higher levels of corrosion resistance when it is compared to grade 316, this type of material is often used to create products like stainless steel watches and other products which are designed to be used under water. However it is not recommended to use these two grades of stainless steel if you have an allergic reaction to nickel as it does contain 8-10.5% nickel.

The most used SAE grade of stainless steel is 304 which is used to create products for the hospitality industry that come in contact with food. Some of these products include kitchen sinks, containers use to make wine and beer, large machinery which juices fruit like oranges and milk storage containers. Whereases 304L is made with is made with extremely similar ingredients but can also contains an higher amount of nickel which helps to resist corrosion by increasing the steels strength, it is often used by welders and used in jewellery. 430 stainless steel is not as corrosive resistance when it is compared to grades 304 and 316.

Different Stainless Steel Finishes
Caption: Photo: Stainless Steel Textures

There are many different type of stainless steels and they are made by using the same manufacturing process. The main difference in surgical stainless steel is what other elements are added to it. For example:

  • Steel is a combination of iron ore and carbon.
  • Nitrogen is used to enhance how the metal stretches under intense pressure and improves the metal’s resistance to corrosion.
  • Chromium which is resistant to scratching and corrosion.
  • Nickel is used to increase the steels strength which protects it at high and low temperatures.

There are also other elements which are used including silicon, phosphorous, sulphur, manganese, carbon, and nitrogen.

The Manufacturing Process

The manufacturing process involves the selection of different types of raw materials. The raw materials are then melted in an electric furnace, which is a process that can take a whole day. The molten steel is then placed into a cast which is of a finished product or of an item which will be used to make a product. For example, the cast may be of a dildo or of a locking mechanism which is then attached to chastity devices for men. The molten steel in the cast is then left to cool down so it can become completely solid. After the steel as formed, it is heat treated, cleaned and polished which will provide it with its desired aesthetic appeal. The steel is then placed into packaging which is sent off to manufactures who may weld and join the steel together to create a finished product.

Once the steel has been formed it goes through a heating treatment process which is called annealing. This is a process where the steel is heated and cooled down in a controlled environment, this is so that the metal will soften and helps to relieve any pressure which will provide a better internal structure. There are also heat treatments like age hardening that are available which is used to give the steel higher levels of strength.

After annealing occurs a layer of scale builds up on the materials surface, this layer has to be removed. It can be removed by a methods known as pickling, the metal is placed in nitric-hydrofluoric acid which removes the scales. Another method of descaling is known as electro-cleaning, this process uses an electric current on the surface which removes the scales.

The steel may then go through cutting operations which will sculpt the material further. There are different methods a material is cut which include the use of blanking, nibbling, flame cutting, plasma jet cutting, straight shearing, circle shearing and sawing.

The next step is to apply a surface finish to the steel which is incredibly important if to create an aesthetically appealing product. Some of these finishes are done so that the product can easily be cleaned or gives it a smooth surface by polishing the metal, this also increases it’s resistance to corrosion. Steel can have three main different types of finishes which include dull, bright or reflective. The type of finish you will get depends on what methods are used during the manufacturing process. For example, a dull finish is created by hot rolling, annealing, and descaling.

The steel is then sent to the end user or a fabricator who may take it through more processes like extrusion, forging, press drawing and more. They may also do more heat treating and cleaning to ensure that the high quality is maintained. This is the moment were they may weld the steel together to form the finished product. The two types of methods available which include fusion and resistance welding.

An important aspect of creating stainless steel is performing and maintaining quality control. For example, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has developed specifications which should be strictly followed to ensure the stainless steel has the necessary properties.