Glaukos Ceramic Part with key to show scale
Posted by: Vanessa Swain

Small Precision Parts – A Deep Dive into MIGS Devices

Glaukos Ceramic Part with key to show scale
Glaukos ceramic part with key to show scale.

GLE makes the tooling used to manufacture the smallest FDA-approved implant—that’s what we mean by Precision Beyond Belief

Surgeons don’t just rely on a steady hand; they need to be able to trust the devices their hands are using. Today, we’re taking a deep dive into one of the most fascinating parts that GLE develops: tooling used in Micro-Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS). MIGS devices are at the forefront of technology in ocular surgery. Firstly, these MIGS medical parts are used to combat Glaucoma. Glaucoma is a very serious and detrimental eye condition. Consequently, Glaucoma results from a build-up of pressure in the eye. This build up of pressure occurs when the muscles responsible for draining fluids in the eye weaken. As pressure builds up, the optic nerve becomes damaged, and the eye gradually loses the ability to relay information to the brain. GLE’s ability to develop components with extremely small holes, while holding precision tolerances, make our firm the ideal supplier for components used in these medical devices.

What are GLE’s small hole medical parts for?

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for individuals over the age of 60. Although, Glaucoma has a few warning signs, they can be discovered and further progress can often be prevented by a routine eye examination. The key takeaway here—these tools are used by a lot of surgeons throughout the medical industry. Our precision manufacturing makes them safe enough to be implanted in the human body. MIGS devices are key in preventing blindness around the world. We uphold a serious responsibility to make these components perfectly and closely inspect them before sending them off to use.

Specializing in small holes, high surface finish, and tight tolerances

GLE specializes in making precision parts with small holes, high surface finish, and tight tolerances. The precision machinists use the aforementioned capabilities to make the MIG’s tooling. Currently, the tubing machinists use by pressing it into the tooling which has a .001” wall thickness and a .005” inner diameter. To the naked eye, you can look at the parts and not even see the small hole in it. However, to our expert precision machinists, these small dimensions are typical for them. Primarily, muscle memory allows for them to repeat and reproduce them consistently, and efficiently. Secondly, our shop machinists average 21 years’ experience. This gives them the confidence and skillset to accurately manufacture these parts.

Premium precision solutions provider

GLE is a premium solutions provider for all precision manufacturing needs. Typically, Tungsten Carbide is GLE’s material of choice for a vast majority of the precision machining in the facility. However, we are always pushing the envelope and work with hardened steels, ceramics, and various other materials. Additionally, with the integration of our Hyperion precision solutions team, Hyperion, Crafts Tech, Aggressive Grind, and GLE utilize best practices to optimize efficiency for all customers across the board.

“Hedgehog” capabilities

Within our NIST certified gage lab, precision machinists define our precision lapping skills by ring lapping, roll lapping and flat lapping to bring small precision parts to size. When we say “precision beyond belief” we mean it. We consider our skills in manufacturing small parts, small holes, lapping, and precision tolerances our “hedgehogs”. Primarily, this is because the anatomy of the hedgehog allows it to roll up into a ball, and move around. Specifically, this reflects our flexibility to manufacture precision parts made of various materials in several different market segments. Additionally, the main reason we call our capabilities our hedgehogs is because when the hedgehog feels endangered, it rolls into a ball and the spikes on its body protect it. We stand behind our precision capabilities and believe we are best in class for manufacturing our hedgehogs, which we consider to be:

Small Parts: OD/ID/OAL as small as .002” (.0508mm) or less (small hole capabilities)

Lapping: .4RA µin finish (.01016 microns) or less

Precision tolerances: .000003” (.000076mm) or less

GLE touches the past, present, and future of the medical field

As technology in ocular surgery develops, GLE will continue to help supply our world’s surgeons with the best devices available. Our precision capabilities make us the leading innovator in the world that can take on these machining jobs that require small holes, tight tolerances, and precision capabilities. We are always looking for the next opportunity to help move the world forward.