Plastic Injection Molding Material Selection: How To Pick The Best For Your Medical Device Production
The concept behind plastic injection molding is relatively simple — to inject heated liquid plastic substrate into a mold, allow the liquid to cool to a solid, eject and repeat. This simplicity lends itself to the versatility, efficiency and availability of injection molding, but it can also lead OEMs in need of plastic injection molded components to attempt to bring those processes in-house.
Almost always, these OEMs will find that in-house injection molding leads to unforeseen cost and logistics concerns, and quickly becomes a liability to the bottom line and even the product’s quality. Instead of bringing these processes in-house, the more productive step here is outsourcing plastic injection molding to an expert in the field.
Advantages of Outsourcing Injection Molding
When you hire another company for plastic injection molding, you gain access to several advantages. These include:
- Outsourced infrastructure: The upfront investment for injection molding machinery is sizable. Injection molding machinery is typically built to undergo millions of cycles and near-constant operation, and the cost reflects this. If an OEM only needs to operate injection molding machinery intermittently, to produce smaller quantities, the length of time to recoup that investment stretches far more than is reasonable. When you outsource injection molding, you are able to make use of someone else’s investment, freeing your capital for core competencies, innovation and other areas.
- Guaranteed expertise: With in-house injection molding, if it isn’t a core competency, you’re likely to be learning (and training) on the job — and thus paying for both of these processes. Part rejects and production errors come directly out of your bottom line, to say nothing of the time lost. With a molding partner, you are guaranteed to be working with an expert — while also freeing yourself of a training or hiring burden.
There are various types of plastic injection molding methods and OEMs may wonder which technique is best for a given molding project. The answer is that it depends on the components being produced. This is why it is important for OEMs to have a good understanding of the different molding methods in order to select the best technique for a particular application. Additionally, it is advantageous for OEMs to leverage the expertise of an injection molding partner, such as Crescent, that has experience in a myriad of injection molding techniques including overmolding and insert molding – two common molding processes that are often confused.
Plastic additives technology has made some massive advancements over the past 10 years, but with all of the different options available how can someone choose which path to go down? The term “additives” is a loose one, so we first need to clarify what we’re referring to. The basic definition is something that is added to a base polymer for performance enhancements, typically with a low percentage of the overall resin make up.
(Updated June 2019)
It is no surprise that medical device manufacturers must adhere to critical medical quality standards. The stakes are high when building and deploying medical devices used to treat patients and their illnesses around the globe. Thus when manufacturers are sourcing their injection molds for parts needed in their devices, the most pressing concern must be to first identify suppliers with proven track records of success and that are fully equipped with excellent facilities, quality controls, and highly specialized personnel. Consistent delivery of highly precise and durable parts is essential to minimizing the financial loss and disastrous medical toll of a failed component or device. Taking a Total Cost of Ownership analysis approach to anticipate the direct and indirect life cycle costs when selecting the right injection molding company is the best business practice to select the most cost effective and reliable molding company to partner with.
(Updated June 2019)
By making parts quickly and economically, injection molding has become one of the dominant fabrication technologies for thermoplastic and elastomeric parts. Injection molding is also the default choice when both high volume production and tight tolerances are required—such as in medical device manufacturing.
Topics: plastic injection molding