Advancements to polymers and injection molding technologies have contributed to widespread adoption of plastics in the medical industry. All segments of the medical industry have embraced the benefits of plastics. Low cost plastics have enabled the creation of disposable plastic instruments, syringes, gloves and gowns that in turn helped reduce the spread of infections within the hospital environment.
High performance polymers contribute to the longevity and friction-free movement found in current generation artificial joints. Handheld medical devices and instruments use plastics to reduce device weight, improve functionality or lower device cost. Plastics have replaced glass in a variety of laboratory consumables, improving lab safety while reducing consumable costs.
The current plastics revolution shows no signs of slowing down. Ongoing research into innovative polymers, improved processing techniques, and novel post-processing technologies are expanding the possibilities for plastics throughout the medical industry.
An Ever-Changing Process
Injection molding processes continue to evolve. At the design stage, rapid prototyping allows molders to create physical prototypes to verify form, fit and function before finalizing the mold design. Advancements to mold simulation software gives molders a detailed look into mold filling and helps to identify issues early in the design phase.
Advancements to control technologies improves repeatability and gives better control over process variables, which translates into precise molding of even the most intricate parts. Together these molding technology advancements shorten product development time, reduce development costs and open the door to a range of new applications.
The Emergence of Polymer Science
Polymer science is another exciting area of development in the field of medical injection molding. New materials exhibit improved stability, reduced shrinkage and other properties that deliver improved performance in molding applications. Additionally, the mechanical strength of polymers continues to evolve, allowing them to be viable substitutes for metals in a range of applications.
Beyond the physical properties of the materials, the work on next generation polymers seeks to incorporate unique functional properties to the polymer. One example is the incorporation of antimicrobial materials into the plastics, inhibiting bacterial growth on the molded part.
Pharmaceutical Plastic Research
Another area of research is pharmaceutical plastics; these plastics are suitable for ingestion or implantation and provide a controlled release of medicine into the host. An example is the development of bioresorbable polymers. Plastics in this family can dissolve, or remain in the body, and help support bone/tissue growth or be used in the manufacture of dissolvable stents.
The development of various post-molding processes further expands the suitability of plastics into a range of applications. Processes like ultrasonic welding and laser micromachining continue to evolve and are compatible with a range of medical plastics. These secondary operations simplify assembly of complex plastic components and provide new possibilities for device designers.
The future for medical injection molding is bright. At Kaysun, we are well suited to help you with your medical injection molding applications. We understand the needs of the industry and maintain a strong commitment to the medical device field. Our team has experience designing and processing parts with a variety of medical grade polymers. We know that when dealing with medical devices, consistent quality is of paramount importance.
Please contact us today to learn more about how Kaysun can improve upon an existing product or help bring a new product to market.