Plastics are extremely versatile, making them sought-after materials across a range of industries. For instance, in the United States the transportation/automotive and construction industries are two of the three major markets that account for the more than $31 billion spent annually on plastic components and products.1
According to global aging data compiled by the United Nations, by 2050 1 in 6 people in the world will be over the age of 65.1 That's a dramatic jump from current statistics that place the same segment of the population at 1 in 11.1
As a result — and in light of spikes in medical demand due to COVID-19 for all age groups — healthcare is rapidly shifting from clinics and hospitals to in-home care and smaller, non-traditional facilities.
Our world is one of handheld devices. Medical facilities depend on portable digital devices to care for patients. Contractors align studs with pocket-sized levels. Troops rely on high-performance equipment and field gear. Households are stocked with all kinds of gadgets to make life easier.
The more OEMs learn about plastic overmolding, the more they want to use this injection molding process to solve application-specific challenges ranging from soft-touch or stylish consumer products to field-use devices that require extra protection and user-friendly features. Not only does overmolding improve functionality, performance, and aesthetics, it lowers total production costs — which is pretty rare these days.
Overmolding is a value-added injection molding method for improving plastic and metal substrate performance and aesthetics. While seemingly simple, the process has a number of underlying complexities that must be carefully considered to ensure your overmolding project meets all goals and expectations.
Manufacturers tasked with making products that serve a wide range of functional and aesthetic purposes often turn to multi-material injection molding for solutions – more specifically, to insert molding and overmolding. Since the two processes bear some similarities they’re often thought of as interchangeable, but there are some key differences.
Overmolding is a unique injection molding process that results in a seamless combination of multiple materials into a single part or product. It typically includes a rigid, plastic-base component overlaid with a thin, pliable, rubber-like thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) exterior layer or other materials using either a single-shot (insert molding) or two-shot (multiple-shot molding) technique.
Constantly evolving, the medical industry requires OEMs to be forward-thinking in providing solutions that address trends and challenges. One such OEM, Smiths Medical, sought to change the design of its existing pulse oximetry portfolio to include enhanced functionality and improved manufacturability. At the project’s inception, they partnered with the U.S.-based injection molding experts at Kaysun to help refine and ultimately accomplish their goals.
Medical grade polymers are quickly becoming the preferred material for a broad range of surgical devices. In certain applications, the robust mechanical properties of medical molding polymers allow complete removal of metal from the surgical device design. In other instances, plastic and metal components can combine to create an enhanced product, with attributes that would not be possible in either an all-metal or an all-plastic device.