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Hard coatings for surgical implants

An innovative process that enables titanium alloy to replace steel based bearings in Airbus 350 and 380 landing gear is undergoing trials for use in hip and knee replacements. Funding has been awarded by Innovate UK, the government backed sponsor for technology, to Wallwork Cambridge, the advanced hard coatings specialists, to research the medical application of this process.

The company is already working on micro-thin smooth bio-active coatings for medical devices so the programme may deliver revolutionary changes for this area of orthopaedic surgery. The programme has promise as an enabling technology that may lead to customised implants made by additive manufacturing. In the future, patients may be able to enjoy lighter, stronger, safer and longer-lasting joint replacements. There could also be potentially huge savings for the NHS from more effective primary surgery, reduced secondary interventions and longer life implants that could outlive the patients.

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