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Critical-use medical devices are essential in the performance of important and often life-saving tasks. As such, they often boast complicated designs and functionality that require the expertise of a complex injection molder to produce. However, that’s only part of the equation.
Complex injection molders entrusted with producing plastic components for medical and other critical-use applications assume a high degree of responsibility to ensure the device performs properly, without fail in sometimes life-endangering situations.
Today’s military is deployed around the world, and that requires defense/safety contractors to develop equipment that performs in a variety of environments and situations. They’re increasingly considering plastic materials for military applications, but developing solutions isn’t without complexities.
One of the main advantages of using injection-molded plastic components is versatility, both in the wide array of resins available for construction and in application. Addressing resin needs early in the design process is ideal, as is partnering with an experienced injection molder with resin-specific expertise.
The overall safety and performance of a vehicle is dependent, in part, on the plastic components used throughout the vehicle. Many people think that when it comes to cars, plastic parts are features like the dashboard, seats and floor mats. But thermoplastic polymers are used in much more critical places throughout a vehicle, many of them under the hood in the car’s powertrain and fuel systems.
In fact, up to 13 different polymers may be used in a single car model, with polypropylene, polyurethane and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) making up 66% of the polymers used in a car.
Medical device performance is inextricably linked to the characteristics of the plastics used. Enhanced properties such as strength, flexibility, transparency, biocompatibility, and temperature and chemical resistance ensure patient safety. They are also mandated by the stringent regulations and classifications of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP).
What You Need to Know About Materials in Complex Injection Molding
With the freedom to create new features – and cost-effectively achieve process efficiencies – it’s evident why many design engineers lean toward parts and products that require complex injection molding.
What isn’t always clear, however, is what goes into it. That’s probably why it’s called “complex” injection molding, which involves more than a few considerations especially at the beginning of the process. Among them is the material used to make the actual mold, in addition to the plastic materials for the part. Here are pointers to keep in mind when working through it with a molder.
We all know that carbon dioxide (CO2)—a greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere through the burning fossil fuels—is a major culprit in global warming. This gas is also hugely abundant in oil shale deposits, where it is typically burned away by flaring, or sometimes captured and injected via deep wells into porous rock formations.
Companies have tried for years to incorporate CO2 into plastic, but could not make the process cost-effective. Now, however, several plastics manufacturers have found success in using CO2 in plastics—the trick was finding the right catalyst.
Occasionally clients want to know about new materials that have specific properties which may be better-suited for different or expanded applications of the products they make—properties such as heat or chemical resistance, hardness, flexibility, friction coefficient, clarity, biocompatibility, etc.
Plastics manufacturers and suppliers continue to announce new grades/blends of resins, often with expanded capabilities that give product designers more freedom in developing next-generation products. Injection molders like Kaysun Corp. who stay in touch with manufacturers and distributors about material advances can keep clients up to date on new compounds that could benefit their product lines, or even boost market share.