Case Study: Distal Channel Retainer

Process: Metal injection molding
Secondary Processes: Reaming
Material: 17-4 PH stainless steel
Density: 7.7 g/cm³,
Tensile Strength: 175,000 psi
Yield Strength: 158,000 psi

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Distal Channel Retainer
2011 Award of Distinction: Distal Channel Retainer

End Use and Function

This component is a 17-4 PH stainless steel distal channel retainer formed via the metal injection molding (MIM) process. The complex, multi-level part is the main distal-side component of an articulation joint in an articulating mechanical stapler/cutter used in endoscopic surgery.


Formed to a typical density of 7.7 g/cm³, the part has a typical tensile strength of 175,000 psi, yield strength of 158,000 psi, and a 6% elongation. Closest dimensional tolerance is ±.0006 (formed by secondary operation). Complex surface profiles are held to a tolerance of .002″.


The MIM process provided a cost savings in the range of 25%–30% vs. other design options.