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How injection moulding could benefit the medical sector

Manufacturer Pentagon Plastics Group, explains how plastics injection moulding and mould tool manufacture can provide solutions to many applications in the medical sector. ?

Each new product range brings its own challenges, and therefore it is crucial to have the right network of support in place from the outset. In order to achieve a successful manufacturing experience, it is necessary to have a product designer, material expert, mould tool manufacturer, plastic injection moulder, multiple medical engineers and marketing staff within each team. It is also vital that areas of concern are addressed within the manufacturing process, and factors such as ease of use, comfort, flexibility, repeatability and the longevity of a product must be monitored.

There are a range of products available, and today these are often made of very soft materials. Products designed with soft materials allow user comfort and the ability to retain strength in order to prevent deformation whilst being used. Products which are manufactured from a slightly harder material are done so in order to achieve a secure ?snap? fit.

Additive manufacturing is widely used in the development process as it is able to rapidly achieve initial samples. Manufacturers can then enhance this by constructing development mould tooling for the full part, or for a section of an assembly item. Samples can then be produced in various thermoplastic grades of material. This ability to adjust the tooling allows customers to develop the key features to ensure the end part is fit for purpose before committing to what can be expensive production mould tooling.

In order to produce a seamless product to the highest standards, tool configuration must be considered. By lessons learnt from the development process, manufactures can ensure the right number of cavities are applied and the correct hardness of steel is chosen. This will guarantee the life of the tool, as well as achieving the product design and volumes required, whilst ensuring that the budget is met.

Once the tools are produced, they are trialled to gain final production approval and to set the quality standards. These standards will be applied over the life of the mould tool to ensure repeatability. Due to the nature of the application, product ranges have a long life. It is proven that once a patient is comfortable with a specific product, they are hard to convince to change even when a new improved version arrives in the market.

West Sussex based moulder and toolmaker, Pentagon Plastics Group are involved within the medical industry, with a particular focus on ostomy appliances and devices. Paul Edwards, managing director and owner, Pentagon Plastics Group says: ?Being involved at the very early stage of a new project and seeing it grow and develop into the final product is one of the thrills that comes with being a technical injection moulder and toolmaker.

?It is particularly rewarding when working within the medical industry on a project that can provide a life changing solution to a patient with a medical condition. The parts that are produced can affect processes, products, functionality and in the end provide a better quality of life for the end user.

?It has been a pleasure over the years to support some of the largest industry names with the great work that they do in relation to stoma care and we are proud to have played a part in manufacturing innovative ideas for urostomy, ileostomy, colostomy and tracheotomy product ranges?rc airplanes.


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