Are you considering thermoplastic Injection Moulding for your medical device manufacturing process?
Injection Moulding (IM) is a widely used process to produce high-precision complex parts and components for healthcare and medical device applications using a wide range of materials. Injection moulding is consistent, affordable and flexible thus making it one of the most commonly used methods of manufacturing durable, complex plastic components in high volumes. Much of the injection moulding process is automated and compared to traditional manufacturing processes produces very little post-production scraps and helps organisations reduce manufacturing costs along with many other benefits. While the process may be heavily automated, it does require a high level of planning and skilled operators to make sure the process runs as smoothly as possible.
Leveraging injection moulding with the right partner will have a definite positive impact on your medical device journey. Together the choices of materials, tooling and process for optimum results will be achieved.
In this article, we’ll look at the top 5 benefits of producing medical devices through injection moulding and look at possible watchpoints to consider.
1. Efficient Production
With the right tool design, material and machine tonnage, moulding can help manufacturers produce large amounts of highly complex and detailed parts within a short time period. There is often very less post-production work required. Partnering with the right injection moulding partner who brings decades of experience to the table can greatly maximise production efficiency and allow OEMs to achieve a shorter product development timeline. This experience is essential when the time to market is critical.
2. Enhanced Strength & Durability
Today’s lightweight thermoplastics can withstand even the most rugged environments and are widely being used as a replacement for metal parts. With injection moulding, OEMs can choose from many types of engineering-grade plastics that are available. These materials are strong, durable and can help reduce the weight of the products by a great extent. With injection moulding, additives can also be included with the resin to reduce plastic density, which ultimately adds great strength to the moulded components.
3. Flexibility in Design
Thermoplastic injection moulding is all about flexibility. It gives OEMs a lot more freedom with their design choices when compared to using metal. They can pick and choose from a large selection of medical-grade materials that can be combined and used simultaneously to produce complex parts and components. With injection moulding, multiple colours can also be included in one product with the use of masterbatches or compounding. From unique textures and engraving to matte finishes, injection moulding allows for a large number of intricate details to be imprinted onto the parts providing the device with the desired finish they are looking to achieve.
4. Cost Savings
As much of the injection moulding process is automated and controlled by a sole operator, it helps OEMs significantly lower their labour and production costs, resulting in greater savings to the customer. The tooling used to make the component can be expensive. However, the expense and time put into the design of the tool will yield significant benefits to the quality of the part being produced. The matching of the tool to the injection moulding equipment is the next step. These machines are expensive but can perform the production of many different parts over the course of a year. Once determined that the tooling and machines are appropriately defined and matched, then the process of validation will add additional benefit using equipment that has been designed to work together in making the specific component.
5. Product Consistency
As all components are created from the same mould, injection moulding helps ensure consistency in product quality and design. It allows OEMs to achieve complex designs using scientific moulding sensors to ensure all components produced are identical to the first one. The use of scientifically designed validation process. Each step of the process validation, IQ/Process Characterisation/OQ/PQ provides the lot on lot precision as intended though the design phase. The injection moulding process is ideal when producing critical-use medical applications in high volumes.
Each step is important to the design and subsequent output of the part. Starting with tool design, machine matching and capability, resins choice and Process Validation will ensure that the component will be made as designed. To fully take advantage of the above benefits, manufacturers must seek out highly experienced complex plastic injection moulding providers who know exactly how to ensure optimum efficiency and profit without reducing the product quality.
At Advant Medical, we have over 28 years of experience in providing Precision Injection Moulding Services to the Medical Device Industry. Operating from Class 8 Cleanrooms, our specialist moulding team and advanced technologies can support you through all stage of your injection moulding project including initial design, validation, production and supply chain management. Our tool fabrication expertise guarantees we can deliver high-quality competitive moulds to our customers along with superior quality and service. Talk to an injection moulding expert today.