Scientific instrumentation problem solved using fine-grained 99.5% Alumina
Problem: A cutting edge developer of scientific instrumentation was sourcing a small diameter ceramic bobbin requiring concentricity to three microns on a tiny axial bore. Although high electrical and wear resistance were required, there was indecision over specifying YTZP zirconia or 99+ alumina.
Solution: With Insaco’s many years of machining experience with hardened materials, Zirconia was the recommended first choice for this application due to excellent impact resistance which might be vital with such a delicate design. However, being such a resilient material also makes diamond grinding tiny holes problematic and expensive. Alumina met all the stated requirements, and was the lower-cost alternative once machining costs were included. To help the user decide, the first prototype order was split over both materials, without cost penalty, to allow real application evaluation.
Result: Alumina more than exceeded performance requirements, and was lower in cost for both material and machining. Production requirements have now been formalized for finegrained, 99.5% Alumina, and reliability is proving excellent.