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Medical Devices Have Zero Tolerance For Plastic Injection Molded Error

October 10, 2019

High tolerance may be desirable when someone cuts you off in traffic (and you don’t want to fly into road rage) but it’s something that, well, plastic injection molders just can’t tolerate. Especially plastic molders of medical devices, such as hip replacement sockets or heart valves.

Plastic Injection Molding 4.0 equipment
Plastic Injection Molding 4.0 equipment

The answer for many plastic injection molding companies is Scientific Injection Molding (SIM), a discipline that allows engineers to define and optimize the company’s molding process, from resin to finished product.

Plastic medical parts are typically high value-added, high-dollar items with extremely complex manufacturing and very tight tolerances – all the way down to micro-molding in many cases. Micro-molding in the medical sector is challenging and difficult. The right tooling partners can make all the difference.

“Healthy Challenges”

Control of the entire production measuring, including continuous process monitoring, are essential in making sure vital medical parts — especially those that are permanently implanted — are produced with zero defects. Cavity pressure systems and other sensors are the “life blood” of these processes, from measurement to documentation of cavity pressure. The key is customized monitoring of tolerance limits by piezoelectric sensors whose results show up in colorful displays on computer monitors Any defects are optimally handled when detected at an early stage, thus reducing rejects and scrap.

Increasingly, OEMs who utilized plastic injection molded components in their end-products are becoming more knowledgeable about the injection molding process in general, and are eager for more technically sophisticated solutions. They are more accepting of risk that go hand-in-hand with the leading-edge applications which give them a competitive advantage.

Some of these advanced applications include load cells, pressure sensors and amplifiers mounted on the injection molding machines themselves in order to bring the pressure signals directly back into the machine controller.

The key is a thorough understanding of how components can be integrated into a seamless whole for maximum results. The goal, as always, is speeding up part production with higher quality and more cost-efficiency. With today’s advanced monitoring sensors and systems, that goal keeps getting met, then increased, then met… well, you get the idea.

So say good-bye to process inconsistencies, thanks to pressure sensors that operate on a micro-scale. These sensors have proven invaluable for picking up variation between molding machines, protecting the mold from being over-packed, and detecting short-shots in real-time.

Bottom line: There is a competitive advantage to understanding precisely what finished plastic injection molded components look like, ensuring they are properly formed and can move into the production stage with 100% zero-defects.


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