Wire cutters are ubiquitous tools for anyone working on electronics or medical devices. Most laboratories and manufacturing floors have an abundance of wires to cut or shape, and a poverty of wire cutters which are up to the task while keeping the user comfortable.
Lab groups in San Jose that plan to spend a lot of time cutting nitinol wires may have an easier time finding the right nitinol wire cutter than they might suspect thanks to the wide selection of products provided by local suppliers.
Nitinol is extremely elastic for a metal, as its flexibility varies with its temperature. When nitinol is exposed to high temperatures, it can be bent into a new shape which it will then retain when temperatures drop. Once temperatures have fallen, nitinol can still be bent or contorted into other shapes—but these changes are temporary. When nitinol is exposed to high temperatures again, it returns to the original shape set during the initial high temperature period. This leads some people to call nitinol a “memory metal”.
Unlike other metals, however, what counts as a “high temperature” for nitinol can be as cool as room temperature (or slightly warmer), depending on how the nitinol is shaped and treated. Thus, nitinol wire can flex or bend slightly in response to minor mechanical force without losing its shape permanently when at room temperature.
Because of these unique properties, nitinol wire is excellent for applications where both flexibility and precisely articulated shapes are necessary, such as in medical devices intended for implantation into patients. In fact, nitinol wires are frequently used to craft stents for supporting veins or arteries in danger of closing because they can be readily shaped to the dimensions of a patient’s anatomy and retain that shape as the patient heals. The patient’s body temperature is sufficient to make the nitinol return to its originally defined shape, meaning that doctors have the freedom to install stents even if the stent needs to be bent or warped to fit the patient during the implantation process. Nitinol wire is also widely used in orthodontics to stabilize and help straighten patients’ teeth without causing the discomfort which might be caused by a more rigid metal.
Picking the right pair of wire cutters to cut nitinol wires is crucial. Nitinol isn’t a very hard in comparison to many other metals, which means that wire cutters designed to cut or break nitinol don’t need to be made of extremely hard and highly expensive materials. However, especially for medical device manufacturing, it’s critical to have a cutter with the right flush of the nitinol wire after the cut. Using a wire cutter which leaves an off-angle or uneven cut will probably lead to poor results. Working with a good supplier ensures that the wire cutters in the lab will be reliable, technically precise, and of high quality.
It’s important for a wire cutter to have a comfortable grip, as there’s a good chance the operator will need to make quite a few cuts before wrapping up work. Especially for wire cutters which need to cut materials harder than nitinol, bearing down on the grip to gain leverage will be much more comfortable when the ergonomics of the cutter are favorable. Many manufacturers rely on their supplier to help them find the most comfortable set of wire cutters—a process which is made much easier when their supplier has a showroom nearby for customers to test equipment before they make a purchase.
For over 40 years, Lab Pro has been committed to delivering the highest quality cutters to laboratories worldwide. Come visit the biggest Lab Supply showroom in California, or contact us online or at 888-452-2776.