Thanks to their versatility in design and application, plastics have emerged as a critical raw material in manufacturing medical applications. Devices such as implants and prosthetics have benefited from the lighter weight and durability of plastic materials over other alternatives, and the biocompatibility and easy sterilization of some plastics make them ideal for safe and sanitary applications.
When it comes to manufacturing these components, low-volume injection molding is the process of choice for many. Low-volume injection molding is a highly accurate and easily repeatable manufacturing process that makes it perfect for producing identical components within extremely tight tolerances.
Low-volume injection molding also bridges the production gap between prototyping and high-volume production of these devices. Because a small batch of products can be made and adjusted as needed, the time between prototyping and full high-volume production can be significantly reduced.
The downside of low-volume injection molding, however, is that the cost of the process itself can become prohibitive. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce injection molding costs without sacrificing the quality of the plastic components or the end-use product.
Your injection mold design can have a significant impact on production costs. The more complex the design, the more expensive it can be. Simple, single-cavity molds can cost anywhere between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on the size of the product, while complex multi-cavity molds such as what might be used to create prosthetics can run up into the tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
When it comes to medical plastic molding, everything from weight and flexibility, to rigidity and precision must be considered and every piece produced must meet the most demanding tolerances and specifications for product performance. For this reason, medical plastic injection molds can quickly become complex, but there are several options for optimizing them to reduce overall costs.
Limiting the number of cavities and eliminating unnecessary features can significantly enhance the mold’s efficiency and performance, for instance, while also reducing the risk of defects in the final product. Similarly, gating systems can be designed to minimize material waste and enable consistent filling of the mold, while optimizing cooling channels can reduce cycle times and improve product quality.
Working with a partner that offers injection mold design services can help you strategize the design of your mold to enhance part performance and streamline production.
The right material selection for medical devices is one of the most critical considerations in the injection molding process. The right material will meet the strength and chemical-resistance needs of your specific application, while also taking into account FDA-compliance and biocompatibility requirements for implants and direct-contact devices.
Choosing the right resin is essential for your application, while choosing a widely available material can help reduce overall production costs.
PEEK, PEI, and PPSU are commercially available resins with a wide range of applications in medical devices. PPSU and PEEK are able to withstand the high temperatures and moisture of autoclaving, for instance, and all three hold up extremely well to radiation and chemical treatments.
In manufacturing, bridge tooling is the stage that bridges the gap between prototyping and high-volume production by combining the rapid construction speed of a prototype tool with the quality of a production tool. It’s a cost-effective method when opting for low-volume injection molding of plastic parts and can be a viable way to speed up the production process while maintaining quality.
With bridge tooling, you can utilize a less expensive mold material to create a limited production run of plastic components. This enables you to test the design and functionality of the component, and address any problems or defects, before investing in full production.
When choosing a plastics manufacturing partner to reduce injection molding costs, it’s essential to find something with the right combination of expertise and capabilities to meet the high demands of your medical device applications.
Omega Plastics offers services ranging from rapid injection molding for a quick, turnkey solution to your product manufacturing needs, to injection mold design services for mold designs that are supported by comprehensive simulation software testing with a focus on Design for Manufacturability services.
When it comes to medical devices, our cleanroom molding services will ensure you always remain in compliance with the strict requirements of the medical industry.
While there are a number of injection molders, partnering with a company with experience in the medical industry is essential.
As a low-to-mid volume injection molder specializing in medical products, Omega Plastics is ISO 13485 certified, FDA registered, and offers full validation and qualification.
Omega Plastics is fully equipped to meet your design expectations in demanding medical applications.
Looking to lower your injection molding costs, but maintain quality? Connect with our team of experts today.