If you go into hospitals and care clinics across the country one thing you will notice is consistency of the products used. If you’re not an avid traveler, look at medical documentaries or even the news. You’ll find the same consistency between products and appliance used. Why do you think that is? Standardization allows for consistency, lower cost, and advanced quality control. These are the exact reasons medical device plastic injection molding is used extensively for the medical industry. If you’re ready to add more consistency to your next product, adopting a medical device manufacturing mindset may will be beneficial.
How Does the Medical Mindset Add Quality Control?
Injection molding offers repeatable results with the exact dimensions your product requires. Modern injection molding machines are very consistent when dialed in and they can be changed frequently to achieve optimization quickly. The best molding companies have a Quality Management System that defines how they control quality and dimensional accuracy, which will in-turn reduce operational cost without losing quality metrics.
Medical Devices Can Be Made for High Volume Applications
Injection molding uses molding dies made from strong material that won’t change from use. This attribute allows medical devices needed in high-volume applications to be consistent over time. Initial product design and development requires investment in the tooling, but it can be amortized over the course of the manufacturing process. Simple devices such as containers, tubes, and disposable single-use medical products like syringes use injection molding frequently because it offers complex shapes in high volumes with economical pricing.
Injection Molding is Perfect for Low Volume Applications
Not all medical devices are used for high-volume applications. Some are very low volume, but that doesn’t negate the benefits of injection molding in these cases. You may find that specialized enclosures are needed for specific tasks or environments and creating a simple molding die for these can still be cost-effective. Medical device specific injection molding can offer a faster production time and a lower cost per part produced compared to other low-volume applications. The key is to find the best plastics used in medical devices to ensure your requirements are meant.
Plastic Injection Molding Provides Superior Versatility for Medical Products
Injection molded products can take many shapes that are almost impossible to form via other manufacturing methods. They can be flexible. They can be rigid. They can withstand high and low temperatures, corrosive and electrical environments, plus be economical to produce. There are thousands of resins available to choose from, so working with an expert in the industry is your best chance to keep up on the latest technology and trends.
What are Common Plastics Used in Medical Devices?
Often times you don’t need to reinvent the wheel on a new product. The medical industry uses common and consistent plastic resins for products as they provide the characteristics needed without a large development investment. Why search through 1000s of resins available when these five may be just what you’re looking for?
Polystyrene is a colorless plastic that is hard and has limited flexibility. It’s naturally a transparent material, but some products will mix a pigment into the resin blend to offer color variations. It is a low-cost base material, which allows it to be used frequently in products such as plastic cutlery, petri dishes, flasks, and pipettes.
Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) is a thermoplastic that is resistant to high temperatures. It is often used in conditions with extreme heat or organic and aqueous environments. It also offers excellent wear resistance, will survive in electrical environments, won’t change dimensions is heat, and can do well in a radiation prone environment.
Polypropylene can withstand high heat for an extended period of time, so it often used in products that require an autoclave for sterilization. It can also survive a radiation treatment and keep samples stable without risk of degradation.
Polyethyelene is mostly used in containers, breather patches, and packaging films. It is a poor choice for hot environments as it can deform in shape and change dimensions under extreme heat. It has an ultra-high-molecular-weight variety that is an excellent choice for the wear surface of hip and knee joint replacements.
Polycarbonate can withstand high impacts, offers a clear translucent base material, is stable under heat and cold, resists UV light degradation, and offers flame resistance. It’s a perfect choice for medical devices that require temperature stability and strength. It’s commonly used for high-pressure syringes, centrifugal force separators, blood filter housings, and other products.
Should You Consider Plastic Injection Molding for Your Next Medical Product?
Plastics offer many advantages and benefits compared to other materials that are commonly used with medical devices and equipment. Certain materials, when chosen for the correct application, can offer strength, heat stability, low cost, and shapes that are complicated or nearly impossible to create easily in other materials. Determining if plastics will be your best choice can be aided by an expert mold maker that also offers resin selection, turn-key assembly options, and program management to see the complete development cycle through with success. It’s not a job that just anyone can do, and it should be left to skilled professionals that are well versed in the process. At SEA-LECT Plastics we pride ourselves in tool and die manufacturing that allows us to deliver high quality products free from defects, and we have multiple options for manufacturing to help your business succeed. SEA-LECT Plastics has an elite team that produces world-class prototypes and products, and we have decades of experience with plastic injection molding operations. Our tooling experts can create molds from 3D designs and make fine adjustments to ensure smooth molding operations on a daily basis. We can offer support to determine what type of tooling you need, what materials to choose, and can support the generation of documentation to win new business in your industry. Give us a call at (425) 339-0288 or email us at email@example.com. We’ll help to determine the best manufacturing for your next project.
Matthias Poischbeg was born and raised in Hamburg, Germany. Matt moved to Everett, Wash., after finishing his bachelor’s degree in business in 1995 to work for Sea-Dog Corporation, a manufacturer, and distributor of marine and rigging hardware established in 1923.
In 1999, Matt took over the reins at Sea-Lect Plastics Corporation, a sister company of Sea-Dog and a manufacturer of plastic injection molded products with an in-house tool & die shop. Matthias Poischbeg is also a contributor to Grit Daily.