H.C. Starck Solutions is currently halfway through the centennial celebration of our company history. Although 2020 has proven to be an enormous challenge for individual businesses and entire industries across the globe, we think it is important – now more than ever – to reflect on the successes we have experienced over the years. Throughout the last century, H.C. Starck has pioneered innovation through material expertise in some of the most critical markets worldwide, including medical device manufacturing.

Through concerted research and development (R&D) we have successfully leveraged a range of refractory metals and precision alloys in medical imaging systems and cancer therapeutics. H.C. Starck Solutions is now one of the go-to suppliers of high-performance materials for cutting edge medical devices.

A Brief History of our Medical Device Expertise

Healthcare and wellbeing are big businesses worldwide, with the medical device industry representing a megalithic portion of the global economy. Estimates place the value of the medical device sector in the region of $430 billion – although this is subdivided into a range of different systems from diagnostic imaging devices to wound care and management. At H.C. Starck Solutions, we have contributed primarily to medical imaging and cancer therapy.

Components for Cancer Therapy

High dose radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, remains one of the main modes of treatment for cancer. External beam radiotherapy delivers targeted dosages of ionizing radiation to cancerous tissues with the aim of killing cancer cells and shrinking tumors. These large form medical devices require high-performance materials to focus radiation beams onto specific sites and to shield peripheral components from stray radiation. At H.C. Starck Solutions, we routinely provide high-density tungsten alloys for radiation shielding and have historically worked closely with system manufacturers to supply multi-leaf collimators, source collimators, and linear accelerator shielding devices.

Materials for Medical Imaging

We have likewise employed tungsten in medical imaging applications that employ ionizing radiation, such as X-ray imaging. Tungsten alloys have proven essential for generating X-rays in medical imaging, from computed tomography (CT scanning) to dental X-rays. H.C. Starck Solutions has developed manufacturing technologies to supply tungsten anode targets that support these very imaging methods.

We have also developed unique tungsten-rhenium powders that can be used in conjunction with high-performance CT medical devices to improve image quality while reducing the radiation dose to the patient. Our rotating anodes, bearings, cathode arms, and shafts based on molybdenum have also elevated the performance of CT scanners by enabling higher powers and faster cycle times between scans. H.C. Starck Solutions anti-scatter grids based on molybdenum and tungsten are also widely used in CT applications due to their high density and elastic moduli. This significantly reduces noise and while improving image resolution of CT-based medical devices. Our recent successes in this area include the unique development of 2D ASG assemblies via additive manufacturing.

Lastly, H.C. Starck Solutions’ materials are increasingly integrated into high-technology medical devices like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems. We are currently working on the next generation of superconducting metals to greatly enhance the performance of MRI medical devices, building on our experience with niobium and tantalum-based rods, sheets, and wires.

Check back on our 100 Years of Refractory Metals Expertise page to learn more about our centennial celebration, or if you have any questions about using H.C. Starck materials in medical device manufacturing, simply contact us today.