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When working on an innovative medical device that could potentially save lives, it’s often crucial to get that device to market as quickly as possible. Every day you save in product development is an extra day people who need your device will have access to it. In addition, development timelines impact your company’s competitive advantage — if a competitor releases a similar device before you, they reap the rewards of being the first on the market. Lack of product development experience, overextending timeline and budget, and compliance with industry regulations are just a few reasons why medical devices and products often go over their projected timeline, but many of these issues can be avoided with the proper planning and manufacturing partnerships.
Insert molding is a type of overmolding where a hard substrate component or “insert” is placed inside a mold cavity in an injection molding machine and then “overshot” with an exterior layer—typically a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE). The interaction between the insert and the TPE must be fully understood to create the strongest possible bond. The surface of the insert should also be free of contamination, including dust or even skin oil—even the slightest contamination can weaken the bond between the TPE and the substrate, leading to premature failure.
Though most commonly known for use in retail operations, radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology has also made a big breakthrough into pharmaceutical circles—and more recently, with medical devices. In 2016, there were more than 8 billion ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags sold worldwide, with only 60% going towards retail. RFID tags typically operate like barcodes, sending out radio frequencies to special reader devices, where data from the tag is captured and stored in a database. With medical RFID applications, however, the uses go way beyond the barcode, and can help medical device manufacturers improve processes and deliver a better final product.
Almost nothing impacts the quality of the final injection molded product as the tool itself. That said, the pressure is on when it comes to securing a tooling quote. And here’s the trick: there is no trick. It’s all about information and reliance on those with expertise in the matter. It’s why we developed a whitepaper about it, which you can download now. Meanwhile, here are five tips to help get tooling quotes right.
With the rise of electric vehicles, new technologies, and tougher fuel standards, the automotive industry is booming these days, and so is the plastics industry. With manufacturers looking to make lighter, less expensive components, while also installing new electronics and their housings, there have been numerous innovations involving plastic automotive parts and designs in 2017, and there are even more on the horizon.
Ten years ago, few companies were focused on helping their employees enhance their health or wellness. Today, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 76% of companies surveyed said their company offered some type of wellness resources to employees. The impetus for developing and offering these benefit programs was primarily the desire to reduce rising health insurance costs, as well as the growing competition for workers — and now it’s evolved into a benefit many employees expect.
The use of overmolding is popular across many manufacturing industries, from consumer products to medical devices, but possibly in no category more noticeable than portable devices. While in some applications, overmolding may seem to merely enhance the aesthetics of a device at first glance — a contrasting color or texture — the use of overmolding on portable devices intended for critical use is highly technical and sometimes highly regulated.
Three-dimensional (3D) printing has been generating excitement in the medical field for a while, and rightly so. While traditionally some have thought of 3D printing and injection molding for plastic parts and products to be competing technology, in reality, both have their place in the medical field.
A surprising number of projects are completed without using a prototype mold—the general idea being that a prototype mold is just an extra step that slows down overall development and production adding unncessary cost. Actually, just the opposite is true—without a prototype mold, a lot of adjustments are usually required on the production tool, driving up cost which in turn causes delays in production.